Georgetown County moved to Operation Condition (OPCON) 2 on Saturday afternoon as it prepares for extreme river flooding.
OPCON2 indicates that a disaster or emergency situation is imminent.
Officials warned that the county on Saturday would begin to experience significant flooding due to the effects of Hurricane Florence, and that those who live in low-lying areas near the Waccamaw or Pee Dee rivers should evacuate. They also warned that areas that have never flooded could be threatened during this event.
“Floodwaters may reach up to 10 feet in height in some areas,” a press release from the Georgetown County government said.
Officials warn that “residents who do not live in flood zones may become isolated due to flooded roadways.”
“As a result, emergency vehicles such as firetrucks, ambulances and police cruisers may not be able to reach flooded areas. Residents may also not be able to travel to reach supplies, medical care, and other necessities.” the release said.
Power outages will be likely and can interfere with daily activities, the county warns.
Barriers going up
On Sunday, a temporary flood barrier will be constructed to keep U.S. 17 in Georgetown County open as long as possible.
The protective barrier will be built to fend off flood waters from the road between two bridges that cross the Waccamaw River and connect Georgetown to the Waccamaw Neck in the Pawleys Island area.
The project is similar to the construction of temporary barriers on U.S. 378 and U.S. 501 in the Conway area.
The plan was developed by the Georgetown County Emergency Management, South Carolina Department of Transportation and the S.C. National Guard.
Despite the barriers, water is still expected to flood the roadway and require the closure of the area around the bridges to traffic as early as the middle of next week.
In order to implement the plan, U.S. 17 will be reduced to one lane of travel in each direction in the area of construction beginning Sunday. Heavy congestion and long delays are expected, and caution is urged for motorists traveling through the work zone.
With the potentially life-threatening floods coming, the county will offer up sandbags to residents for the second consecutive day, according to a press release.
The sandbags will be available at three locations in Pawleys Island on Sunday. The following list is from the press release provided:
- Beginning at 10 a.m., a large supply of ready sandbags will be available for pickup at Waccamaw Middle School, 247 Wildcat Way, Pawleys Island. This distribution will end when the supply is exhausted.
- From noon to 4 p.m., sand bags will be distributed via a drive-through line behind the Pawleys Island Recycling Convenience Center, 596 Grate Dr. Staff and volunteers will begin working at 10 a.m. to pre-fill bags in order to help the process move faster than it did today and cut back on traffic congestion in the area.
- In Georgetown, sandbags will again be distributed in a drive-through system at: China Chill gas station, 7919 N. Fraser St. (near the Choppee Rd. intersection), Georgetown, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The distribution will be limited to residents; therefore, proof of residence will be required. There will be a limit of 10 sandbags per household, the release states.
The Village Shops and Masonic Lodge behind the shops are offering free parking for those who need to move their cars somewhere safe in light of flooding, according to a Facebook post by Georgetown County Emergency Management.
Parking will be available at the rear and side of the shops and at the lodge, the post states. Those interested will need to pick up a windshield pass from the Tidelife Vacation Rentals, which is located inside The Village Shops, the post notes.
For more information, call Jill at 843-543-0180.
Millstone Golf Course in Hemingway is also allowing free parking for those facing flooding concerns.
Those interested need to pick up a windshield pass from course’s business mailbox.