Horry County officials are warning that the Waccamaw River will be cresting on Thursday at potentially flood levels.
Police have set up 14 checkpoints along the wide river that flows close to downtown Conway and past the suburb community of Socastee downstream to Georgetown. There are also concerns about the Pee Dee and Black River near Georgetown, which has already seen some of its worst flooding since Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
“Numerous homeowners have self-evacuated and others are choosing to stay in their homes,” the county said in an email Wednesday. “Horry County Fire/Rescue, Horry County Police and the Department of Natural Resources continue to monitor those communities and will provide assistance as needed including assistance with evacuations. Officials are deterring people from sightseeing in those locations.”
Gov. Nikki Haley is in the region on Wednesday, getting an aerial tour of flood damage earlier this week and learning about how county emergency officials are preparing for the new threat. It was the governor’s first trip outside of the Columbia region since deadly floods began lashing at the Capital City on Sunday.
“Things are getting better in the Midlands. Things are about to get worse on the coast,” the governor told reporters during Wednesday’s daily briefing at the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center.
Grand Strand residents have already seen flood damage, getting some of the worst coastal flooding on Saturday as Hurricane Joaquin passed far offshore. More hit Conway earlier this week as rains continued the constant downpour for nearly four days. However, area leaders warn runoff from record inland rains is now making its way down South Carolina’s river and swamp system towards the coast.
“We’re not out of the woods, yet,” Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said on Tuesday. “The Waccamaw River and the Pee Dee are going to rise and we’re going to have some significant flooding.”
The floodwaters headed towards Georgetown are the same that flooded Kingstree — located about 50 miles west of Myrtle Beach — on Tuesday. Kingstree’s town administrator reported record flood levels along the Black River Swamp in an interview with the Associated Press. However, emergency officials say they are not aware of any casualties at this time — largely because of voluntary evacuations that occurred the day prior.
“for any isolated pockets along there. But that’s a good story, the system worked. “Everybody’s out of there,” state Emergency Management Director Kim Stenson said. “They’ve still got swiftwater rescue teams for any isolated pockets along there. But that’s a good story, the system worked.”
Gov. Haley is scheduled to brief media again from Horry County around 4:00 p.m.