Couple prepares to leave their home ahead of Florence flood warnings
A motor home filled with belongings sits in the driveway of Michael and Gina Hanlon’s Lee’s Landing home. Family members are helping the couple empty their garage before water from the Waccamaw River overtakes the home, ruining anything left behind.
The Hanlons moved into their waterfront home less than a year ago, enclosing the open area underneath and turning it into a garage where Michael Hanlon works on motorcycles.
“I’m too old for this, done it too many times,” Michael Hanlon said.
Three bikes still sit in the garage. Micheal Hanlon said he had been working on them for friends, but they evacuated once they heard about the potential threats Hurricane Florence poised at the Grand Strand.
In the garage, Michael Hanlon pointed to just above the halfway mark on the cement pillars holding the house up, showing where the previous owners said water came up to during Hurricane Matthew.
When Michael Hanlon enclosed the area, he built shelves above the line where water rose during Matthew. Now, flood waters are expected to reach between 5 and 9 feet deep, forcing the Hanlons to empty the shelves that are filled with everyday items like blankets, wires and tools.
“We barely got moved in and when we did move in this was all open so we needed storage so I closed it all in and I shouldn’t have done that,” Michael Hanlon said, stating that he will not rebuild the enclosure if it is ruined by water.
Now, most of the garage is cleared out, with family belongings spread out between Michael Hanlon’s mother’s, sister’s and brother’s house. He said he does own a piece of property off of S.C. 544 where he can store the 15 motorcycles he has been working on, and his house is filled with items from the garage, taking up most of the guest bedroom.
“My wife’s not too happy about it,” Michael Hanlon said. “Yeah, she’s not too happy because it’s actually nicer than our master bedroom so that’s our guest wing. But it’s full of motorcycle parts now. If I could ride them up the stairs, they’d all be parked up there.”
On Sunday afternoon, water from the Waccamaw was already a foot higher than it normal, the couple said. Stairs that normally lead down to a small dock with a sink where they clean fish was covered with water.
Michael Hanlon planned to bring a floating dock that had broken off from the main dock up into the yard to help prevent it from being taken away by the water.
The Hanlons aren’t the only ones in the area preparing for flooding. Doretha Lewis’ house has flooded six times throughout the years.
Despite the hassle of moving, the Hanlon couple said they planned on staying in their home. The couple is moving their cars down the street to park them next to the baseball fields at Cox Park along Lee’s Landing Circle.
The couple plans to ride a jet ski back to their home once the river crests to check on their belongings.
“God’s way of saying it’s time to downsize,” he said. “So we’re gonna downsize.”