Rosewood Drive resident Phil Sherengos stands feet away from floodwaters in his Socastee neighborhood, holding a box that has his grandmother’s hair in it.
The hair is from her first haircut on Aug. 24, 1923, and it’s wrapped in the day’s newspaper from the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. Sherengos said it was something people did in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and is sentimental to him — it’s why he grabbed it as flooding from the Intracoastal Waterway rises and takes over the Rosewood Estates neighborhood.
In Sherengos’ truck is his 12-year-old cat, Sami Sami. The two were separated when Hurricane Florence hit the coast Sept. 14. He found the cat on the highest shelf in his shed Monday morning, and she started meowing as soon as he called for her.
Hurricane Matthew was Sherengos’ first flood. He’s not as emotional this time.
“Now I’ve already danced this dance before,” he said. “Honestly, it’s a lesson in materialism. We still have our lives and our kitty cats.”
The Intracoastal Waterway flows through Socastee and is expected to crest Wednesday. As of 11 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said the waterway was more than 19 feet deep, which is where the water crested following Matthew.
Around the corner on Dogwood Circle, Chris Pace takes photos of the floods. Pace, who has lived in a mobile home on Orangewood Court for five years, said the water has already reached higher levels than it did during Hurricane Matthew.
“We got our clothes, half the kitchen, because that’s expensive stuff, and sentimentals and donated the rest,” Pace said. “And the rest is still in the trailer.”
After the water recedes, Pace said what’s left in flooded homes is disgusting — things stink and need to be replaced.
Debbie Slomkoski-Ingram bought her Rosewood home when she was 22 and still in college. Before Hurricane Matthew, water had never reached her house.
“It is my comfort place,” she said.
She was not living there during the past flooding. Her parents were and had to evacuate at the last second as they were not expecting the waters to reach their house.
Slomkoski-Ingram was cutting through neighbors yards as the water began to rise around her house Sunday. She wanted to spend a few more hours in her beloved home and to sleep on her favorite mattress.
She has used the mattress for over a decade.
“It’s better than a new one,” she said.
While Slomkoski-Ingram managed to evacuate much of her home, including expensive new cabinets from renovating after Matthew, she didn’t manage to get the mattress out.
After the past flood, the Slomkoski-Ingram family rebuilt. They love this community and their neighbors.
Ingram said she doesn’t want to lose the connection she feels to the area. She doesn’t want to leave her comfort home.
“I love the community, honestly,” she said. “Everyone looks out for each other.”
The Coast Guard was working through the day to boat residents to and from their homes in the neighborhood. Water levels were deep enough to almost cover mailboxes in some spots Monday morning.
Rich Battel is a local electrician who did renovations for Sherengos’ house after Hurricane Matthew. Now, he was helping his former client evacuate the home.
Battel is one of many friends, neighbors and volunteers helping their friends and relatives survive the flood.
While Battel’s Forestbrook home is threatened by the flooding, he is hopeful it won’t reach him. Still, he took precautions and secured his guitars and keyboard.
Working as an electrician, Battel said that shutting off power is important. He is worried that the electric wires will fall down as their poles washout. He said a live wire could cause a lot of damage to homes and people in the water.
Less than a mile east of Rosewood Estates is Smith Boulevard — a nearly 1-mile road that runs parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Mike and Linda Pelletier stand in their front yard and move pieces of wood that are floating where the water is creeping onto their property of 35 years. Their home is higher than the homes on the waterway just across the street that have been overtaken with water overnight.
“This time it’s going to be so much worse,” Linda Pelletier said. “It’s at our maximum of last time (after Hurricane Matthew), and we still have three more days.”
The water will most likely go into their garage, but not into their home — at least that’s what they hope for, she said.
“This is the second time it’s come into the driveway,” she said. “Until Matthew, we haven’t seen this kind of devastation.”