Conway Riverwalk at historical flood crest
Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, officials say the Waccamaw River crested Wednesday in Conway at around 21.2 feet.
The river will slowly start to fall in the coming days, though it will remain above Hurricane Matthew levels until next week.
Santee Cooper said Wednesday the river did not spill into a coal ash pond as previously expected. Officials said earlier this week they believed floodwaters would reach the Grainger Ash Pond 2 on Tuesday.
The state-owned electric and water utility took several steps to prevent the waters from reaching the pond, including installing an AquaDam and silt fencing on top of the pond. The ash ponds are near the Santee Cooper Generating Station, right outside downtown Conway.
At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Waccamaw River in Conway was at 21.16 feet, according to the latest forecast by the National Weather Service. The water level will begin to fall Thursday and won’t drop below 19 feet until Monday.
The crest sets a new record, besting the previous mark by more than 3 feet.
Flood stage in the Waccamaw River is at 11 feet.
Some of the hardest hit areas include the Sherwood neighborhood, Star Bluff Road in Longs and Rosewood in Socastee. Hundreds of residents had to evacuate as floodwaters entered homes.
There are more than 250 roads closed in Horry County because of flooding. The U.S. Highway 501 bridge has been reduced to one lane in each direction because ofdue to floodwater concerns.
The latest weather forecast for the Myrtle Beach area calls for an additional 1-1.5 inches of rain in the next five days. Forecasters say the rain will not worsen the flooding, but could slow the water’s receding.
In Bucksport, the Pee Dee River is expected to crest between 25 or 26 feet Wednesday night or Thursday, according to the weather service. The previous record was just under 23 feet.
The Little Pee Dee River near Galivant’s Ferry crested at more than 17 feet Friday. It was down to 13.1 feet Wednesday and still classified as major flood status. The Little Pee Dee is not expected to reach minor flood status until Saturday.
As the waters continue to work south, Georgetown County officials warn locals that if they live in a flood-prone area they should evacuate. But, there was good news Wednesday as county officials said the latest projection called for less impact from floodwaters. Some of the hardest hit areas were projected to see 5 to 10 feet of flooding, but are now looking at 2 to 4 feet. That includes Front Street in downtown Georgetown.