The Waccamaw River is rising quickly along Lees Landing, where folks are making preparations to settle in for the long haul, or evacuate.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources officials launched from the landing shortly before 11 a.m. to check on residents already cut off due to rising flood water. Horry County Fire and Rescue also had a boat on the water.
They aren’t asking folks to leave, just checking to see if they need anything.
Mike Parks also launched his boat to head down river to reach some friends trapped in their home by flooding. He said he expects to be making several trips today.
“It looks terrible. The river is still coming up, swirling around,” Parks said. “It looks peaceful today, but it was horrible last night. Severe wind gusts blasted the Highway 90 area, knocking dozens of trees across power lines and partially blocking roads.
“I was wishing we left last night, it was scary,” Wanda Forrest said of the thundering wind, that was accompanied by the rapidly rising river.
She, husband John, and dog Marley were evacuating to their son’s house for the duration. John Forrest’s health requires that he have electricity, and with the majority of Horry County still without power, they decided to leave.
“There’s no point in being here, really, until the power comes back on,” John Forest said.
The Waccamaw is predicted to reach record levels rivaling the 2015 storm.
The National Weather Service said Sunday morning the Waccamaw River could crest at 17 feet on Oct. 17. “That is about three-quarters of a foot above last year,” the report said.
It was at 14.54 feet Sunday morning. Record crest on the Waccamaw River is 17.8 feet.
The levels at Long are expected to crest at 19 feet on Tuesday or Wednesday, which is above Hurricane Floyd levels, the NWS said. Levels at Freeland are also expected to crest at the same time at 18.5 feet.
Horry County Emergency Management issued a code red alert shortly before 12:30 p.m. telling residents along the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway to monitor the flooding, as the water is rising very fast. The river is already at flood stage and is expected to rise higher, and will be similar to last year’s flooding, the message said.
But folks in Lees Landing are used to the river coming up fast, and dozens of cars had already been moved to high ground. They’ll be commuting to work partially by boat on Monday.
Tim Graham, who has lived in Lees Landing since 1997 and experienced Hurricane Floyd, drove through flooding streets on his way to stock up on supplies. His house is on stilts, and he’s no stranger to Waccamaw River flooding that can last weeks.
“It’s not my first flood, but I’ll see how high it gets and wait it out,” Graham said.
Parks, who lives on Waccamaw Drive, said boating to Lees Landing was the only route out for him, and he expects to be ferrying more passengers as the river rises through Tuesday.
“If I need anything, I’ll just boat out,” Graham said.
Robert Skaggs and a friend biked down to the river below the bridge in Conway to watch the water rises.
“We haven’t seen the worst of it yet,” Skaggs said.