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This Longs community may have to start over after flooding enters several homes

Star Bluff Road residents Jay and Cessa Davis paddle a jon boat into their neighborhood as they assess damage done by the flood waters of Hurricane Florence.
Star Bluff Road residents Jay and Cessa Davis paddle a jon boat into their neighborhood as they assess damage done by the flood waters of Hurricane Florence. jbell@thesunnews.com

Earthworms and dead fish floated through knee-deep water and the smell of sewage filled the air as Jay and Cessa Davis used a boat to reach their home in the Longs area Sunday afternoon.

Some homes in the Star Bluff community were filled with nearly a foot of floodwater after Hurricane Florence — something most of the neighbors have never seen before, not even after Hurricane Matthew.

Six-inch-deep water flowed through the Davis’ home, which is not on a flood plain. And they did not have enough time to move most of their belongings because of how quickly the water came onto their property.

“I grabbed his mom’s wedding dress and left mine,” said Cessa Davis of her mother-in-law’s dress. The couple is taking it day by day.

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Six-inch-deep water flows through Jay and Cessa Davis’s home on Sept. 23, 2018. Hannah Strong hstrong@thesunnews.com

The Davis’ new oven and refrigerator are ruined. They elevated their mattress and a couple pieces of antique furniture. The cabinets and drawers were left open to prevent mildew. She said nobody in the neighborhood has flood insurance.

“It’s bad for everybody,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

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A look at the water level outside of Jay and Cessa Davis’s home on Sept. 23, 2018. Hannah Strong hstrong@thesunnews.com

Neighbors are used to seeing deeper water in the roads after rain, and after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. But not in the yards and driveways. The water level dropped a few inches from Saturday to Sunday, but some points in the neighborhood are still waist-deep.

Across the street, Malakai Lavatai elevated his vehicles onto blocks and pieces of wood. There was no time to move the vehicles to higher ground because Lavatai woke to 6-inch-deep water in his yard. He said he never imagined the water would get “that bad.”

“It just kept coming,” Lavatai said. “We put everything up on the beds.”

He and his family have been staying in a hotel and using Uber to get most places since their cars are still at home. Though his lawn and home are filled with water, Lavatai said he’s staying positive.

“I always want to look at the positive side of things,” he said. “This isn’t something I can control.”

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong
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