The worst is yet to come: Waccamaw waters already reaching houses

Houses in Conway are already experiencing flooding Monday after Tropical Depression Florence.
Houses in Conway are already experiencing flooding Monday after Tropical Depression Florence. jbell@thesunnews.com

The Waccamaw River is already reaching low-lying homes along the water and the worst is still more than five days away.

On Monday morning flooding had already reached major levels at over 14 feet deep. Typically, the Waccamaw is near 7 feet deep.

While many homes along the river are built up high to avoid flooding, others are already flooding or are getting ready to flood as the river rises. The latest forecast has the Waccamaw hitting 20 feet in depth by Saturday.

The flood water is already threatening the Riverwalk in Conway. The gazebo in a Conway park was nearly underwater and portions of the boardwalk were submerged.

The Conway Riverwalk gazebo sits nearly submerged on Monday. The COnway area is already experiencing flooding Monday after Tropical Depression Florence. Josh Bell jbell@thesunnews.com

As trees fall and flood water rush into the river, the Waccamaw is becoming littered with debris. A baby doll could be seen floating toward the Atlantic Ocean. Wood, soda cans, boat parts and hose piping were floating downstream, making boating conditions difficult.

A few boats were on the water. Boating in flood waters could be dangerous for boats and for the neighboring houses. A fast-moving boat creates a wake, or waves, that can increase the chances of flooding in a house. Boats choosing to travel along the Waccamaw are encouraged to go slow near houses and bridges.

Many of the speed enforcement signs warning boaters to slow down are now underwater, so drivers should be aware of where they’re heading in advance.

Derriel Morris, who lives in a boat in the Bucksport area, stayed on his boat as Tropical Storm Florence hit Myrtle Beach. He, like others, believes his boat is safer than land during flooding.

Morris has lived in a boat since 2013 and remembers the levels the Waccamaw reached during Hurricane Matthew. The floods from Florence are forecast to go 3 feet higher than the previous storm, breaking the record.

“Uh oh,” is how Morris described what would happen if flood levels exceeded what he experienced in Matthew. He made marks on the dock to show how high the water levels got in past storms.

Florence will probably require Morris to put a new high mark on his pole.