Gov. Henry McMaster spent Monday getting an aerial tour of flood damage in the Pee Dee region.
The governor flew by helicopter to survey damage in Chesterfield County, where dozens of roads were washed out by flash flooding Sunday and Monday. The area received 16 inches of rain in some areas — similar levels which caused record flooding in Columbia three years ago.
“The (Great) Pee Dee River is 12 foot above flood and they’re expecting at least 10 more feet,” Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks said. “Hopefully, that will level off. If we just get 10 more feet, we can pretty much handle it on this side of the river.”
Evacuations are underway in the town of Wallace by Marlboro County authorities, he said. Officials are still eyeing several dams in the region which are at risk of breaching. The Boy Scouts are warning a dam holding back the manmade lake at its Camp Coker near Society Hill in Darlington County is at risk of “imminent failure.” A downstream road has already been washed out, but the dam was still holding as of noon Monday.
Brooks said there were also fears a popular lake at Cheraw State Park could wash out by a dam failure there. The dam held overnight Sunday, although water did impound some campsites and dirt roads downstream.
“It was pouring out water unbelievably,” he said. “It washed out several little dirt roads leading into the campground and isolated a few campers. But it held overnight.”
Police Chief Keith Thomas said rising waters even led officials to evacuate an emergency shelter set up in Cheraw’s community center after more than a foot of water gathered inside. No injuries have been reported and officials were able to relocate those inside to a new shelter outside town.
Six deaths have so far been blamed on Hurricane Florence in South Carolina. Four of the six deaths occurred on roadways, including one drowning victim. Two others died from carbon monoxide poisoning while running their gas generator during a power outage at a Loris home.