More than 160 people were rescued from a small Marion County town on Monday, with officials saying many of them had to be rescued from the third floor of the town hall itself.
The incident happened in Nichols, a small community of about 400 people roughly 40 miles east of Florence near the North Carolina border. The town is along the Lumber River downstream of Lumberton, where heavy rain led to major flooding and thousands of residents being stranded. More than 15 inches of rainfall was recorded in nearby Mullins, according to the National Weather Service.
State Department of Natural Resources director Alvin Taylor said some of his officers, plus Army National Guard and other agencies used boats and high-water vehicles to rescue roughly 150 people who had gathered in the Nichols Town Hall as floodwaters rose around the town. Another 12 people were airlifted from homes along the Little Pee Dee River.
Members of the National Guard carrying evacuees from Nichols S.C. (Video courtesy of the National Guard
Some residents told the Associated Press they were unaware of the flood danger because their power had been out for the past two days.
In a personal note for him, Taylor acknowledged his aunt was among those took refuge in the Nichols Town Hall.
Dillon County has been perhaps the inland county hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew and its aftereffects. The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the heavy rainfall caused at least three dams to fail inside the county borders, including a pond at Little Pee Dee State Park. DHEC Director Catherine Heigel said Flowers Pond near Lake View and Hardee Lake in Dillon also breached. None of the failures caused serious damage, although they likely contributed to flooding downstream.