Georgetown County braces for impact from Hurricane Florence

Georgetown County braces for impact from Hurricane Florence
All the homeowners on Pawleys Island have evacuated and prepared their homes ahead of the storm. (Source: Live 5)
The North and South Causeway, the roadways that link this barrier island to the mainland, have been closed off. (Source: Live 5)
The North and South Causeway, the roadways that link this barrier island to the mainland, have been closed off. (Source: Live 5)

GEORGETOWN COUTY, SC (WCSC) - Georgetown County is under a hurricane warning as the outer bands of Florence pass over the South Carolina coastline.

The Category 2 hurricane, which as of Thursday night was larger than North and South Carolina combined, could cause severe damage.

Before residents left, they boarded up homes and windows, then stocked up on gasoline and bottled water.

Georgetown County remains under a mandatory evacuation order that Gov. Henry McMaster put in place Tuesday. But county officials worry that not enough people have left the county.

Residents said they expect bad flooding in the historic district of the town.

The National Weather Service is predicting anywhere from 15 to 25 inches of rain over the next few days as Florence moves in. Much of the state is under a flash flood watch and flooding is expected throughout low-lying areas of the county, according to Georgetown County spokesperson Jackie Broach.

The county opened shelters at Pleasant Hill Elementary School and Andrews Elementary School.

Visit www.gtcounty.org for more shelter information.

Georgetown County's Emergency Management Center is fully activated at OPCON 1. Residents who have questions can call the county's information hotline at 843-545-3273.

Pawleys Island residents take lesson from Matthew and evacuate

Pawleys Island, a town partially built on a barrier island of the same name, has withstood the test of many hurricanes before this one.

When you build a house on a place like Pawleys Island, you do so knowing there is some degree of risk that you are going to take the brunt of any storm that hits.

One of the most recent and damaging was Hurricane Matthew almost two years ago.

Storm surge took out first floor walls and doors of many beach houses, the town hall was flooded, and a long piece of one of the main roads on the island, Springs Avenue on the south end, was covered with up to four feet of sand. The sand had been pushed from the beach side of the island, under homes, and out onto the street facing the marsh.

About two-thirds of the dunes on the island were also destroyed.

There are about 100 permanent residents that live here but tons of vacationers who visit.

Fortunately, this storm is coming at a time when tourist season is dying down.

All the homeowners here have evacuated and prepared their homes ahead of the storm.

So are first responders.

"There is no one size fits all for a situation like this, we've got things on both sides," Midway Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Nugent said. "We have crews to go to either type of those calls, ready to change as the situation changes."

Nugent said a lot has been repaired in the past two years since Matthew.

People prepared for Florence by boarding up windows and doors, strapping down their HVAC units and evacuating!

While some people stayed in their homes through Matthew, this time around everyone has left.

The North and South Causeway, the roadways that link this barrier island to the mainland have been closed off to any visitors, whether they are homeowners here or just the general public.

Homeowners will need some kind of documentation such as a mortgage bill or the deed to your home to get back on the island to assess any damage immediately after the storm.

The National Guard is here and police and fire departments are working together, protecting the property people left behind.

There's no word yet on when things will open back up here; that depends on Hurricane Florence.

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