GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - Georgetown County leaders say they expect flooding that could reach historic levels in part of the county early next week.
That flooding, they say, could force thousands to seek shelter.
RELATED: Interactive flood map
They say they do not expect a danger of flooding in Andrews and Browns Ferry area or that portion of the basin.
But the main areas that could be flooded are West of Hwy. 17 on the Waccamaw neck, large parts of the city of Georgetown, and north of the city along the Pee Dee River. Houses located at the corner of East Bay Park on Front Street are expected to be inundated with up to 15 feet of water, according to the latest forecast from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The other side of the street could face 10 feet of flooding.
Officials say as many as 8,000 people could be displaced by the flooding, so they are making sure they are ready to order evacuations and open shelters when the time comes.
The City of Georgetown will begin handing out sandbags at 9 a.m. Friday at Eagle Electric by Fire Station 2 and Fraser by Highway 17. They expect to be able to hand out at least 15,000 sandbags.
The good news, Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway said, is that the flooding is an event that will approach gradually so they will begin to see the possible impact to the north before it arrives. They hope to see plenty of lead time to provide warning.
“We should not see the onset of any of this process until, the earliest, early next week,” he said. “We encourage anyone that may be threatened by flooding, make arrangements, plan as those it will be the worst case scenario and you might have to vacate your homes.”
Georgetown County Emergency Management Director Sam Hodge said the county is ready to open shelters when they deem that necessary. Hodge said they sent many of the personnel who helped prepare for Florence’s landfall home to rest. They will bring those people back next week to prepare for any flooding.
“We can see what happens in Horry County as water moves downstream, so we can see how that plays out,” Hodge said.
He said residents will be seeing more military action, including National Guard members helping out and positioning equipment as part of a prestaging process.
“Don’t be alarmed when you see those assets,” Hodge said.
The county missed the brunt of Hurricane Florence’s damage and devastation after it made landfall in North Carolina, but officials have worried the threat isn’t over because of the possibility of flooding.
Georgetown County remained at OPCON 4 on Wednesday with a partial activation of the county’s Emergency Operations Center as officials monitor water levels.