As the Waccamaw River rose to 15 feet on Monday, the “mayor of Lees Landing” was helping some residents ferry their belongings out while bringing in supplies for others.
“There’s people I didn’t talk to, like, all last year, people I met last year during the flood, they’ve got me going wide open since I woke up this morning,” said Charles Purvis, who was steering his boat down Lee’s Landing Circle where many stilted houses were already partially under water.
On October 4 last year we moved out. We moved out again this year.
“On October 4 last year we moved out,” said Donna Richardson. “We moved out again this year.”
During the 2015 flood, Purvis had helped the Richardsons move out. Richardson and her husband are remodeling a house and are staying in their RV until the flooding subsides.
On Monday, Purvis was helping them retrieve their clothes, navigating his boat down the ditches on the flooded road where he and a friend had cleared out brush and trees the night before for easier navigation.
Purvis earned the title of “mayor” when he helped people during the 2015 flooding, he said.
“He’s the mayor of Lees Landing,” said Donna Richardson. “He’s awesome. He helped us out last year; he helped everybody out.”
There’s about 30 inches of water in my sister’s bedroom.
On Monday, Purvis was also helping some people back in.
He helped Bruce Thompson bring in gasoline for his generator.
“We’ve been through it before so we know what to expect,” said Thompson.
Thompson had brought in a refrigerator, a generator and an external antennae for his television to keep him entertained during the flood.
His house is on stilts, and it’s high enough that he’s not worried about water getting inside.
“I’m worried about maybe running out of Guinness, or the beer getting warm if the generator runs out of gas,” he said.
At the Gibson family house, the water hadn’t reached the second story of their house that was on stilts. But the first story hadn’t fared as well.
“There’s about 30 inches of water in my sister’s bedroom,” said Alston Gibson. “We’ve been raising everything up for about the last four days. Raised it up about 6 feet.”
The Gibson family was staying in the upper level of the house during the flood because the rental homes along the beach had all been damaged by Hurricane Matthew.
While Gibson wasn’t worried about flooding in the rest of her house, she was concerned about the wake that’s created by drivers and boaters in the flood waters.
“The sightseers are the worst,” she said. “They don’t know, they don’t respect enough to know that you need to go slow by the houses because every little wave you throw, it’s knocking windows out of houses and floating off more of their stuff that they couldn’t get to. Every little wave matters. Just say we had it raised up a foot above the water and they come by throwing a foot wake, they’re going to knock that stuff that we had raised up, down.”
I’m worried about maybe running out of Guiness, or the beer getting warm if the generator runs out of gas.
But Gibson said that the Horry County police were doing a good job of keeping the sightseers out of the water.
Thompson said that he had lost his dock to wakes during Hurricane Floyd.
“The docks, when the river level gets high, are held up by posts,” said Thompson. “And sometimes the dock will exceed the height of the post that’s holding it and it could wash it away. They’re expensive.”
Now, his dock is chained in place.
According to the National Weather Service, the Waccamaw River could rise to 16 feet by Saturday.
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian