Jamestown Fire Chief: "Jamestown is safe"

Jamestown Fire Chief: "Jamestown is safe"

JAMESTOWN, SC (WCSC) - At a Thursday morning news conference Governor Nikki Hayley stated that the Jamestown area should consider evacuating in the near future.

In the next 72 hours Jamestown could see the Santee River at its highest levels.

"Flooding from the Santee is already an issue, but that's going to combine with Lake Marion hitting flood levels," Governor Hayley said. "If that spills over into the Santee that's going to be extremely problematic. Highway 41 is going to be impassible."

Meanwhile town officials say that the Governor is wrong about Jamestown.

As of 4:00 p.m. the level of the Santee River in Jamestown was at 18.3 feet, per Jamestown Fire Chief David Schuler.

Chief Schuler said many people think the river is high and a threat, but he says it's not.

Santee Cooper officials said the Santee River is expected to rise to 23.1 feet by Monday morning.

To give some perspective, Chief Schuler said the river increased eight inches Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

He and the mayor of Jamestown have been in constant contact with the Berkeley County Emergency Operations Center monitoring the situation.

While the Governor mentioned Jamestown should consider some sort of evacuation, Chief Schuler says it's not necessary.

"We can't even understand why they would consider evacuations at this time," Chief Schuler said. "It's suppose to be 23.1 feet Monday morning. We've had levels of 24 and above and we never had a situation where we had to leave Jamestown. The water has never come into Jamestown."

The National Guard and the state's Emergency Operations Center reached out to Chief Schuler Thursday to see what supplies the town needed.

"I told them we didn't need anything," Chief Schuler said. "There's no reason to take supplies from others that need it more."

There are a few cabins in the Jamestown area along the Santee, but they aren't used year round.

Chief Schuler said one woman has already voluntarily evacuated her home because she didn't want to deal with any of the issues with the rising river.

At this point Chief Schuler is asking residents not to panic.

"Jamestown is safe," Schuler said.

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