SCEMD: Georgetown Co. will see flooding in next 12 hours
COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina Adj. Gen. Robert Livingston warned Georgetown County residents to be on alert for the next 12 hours as a new wave of flooding is expected to hit the area.
Livingston said law enforcement and military officials will go door to door in three particular areas asking people to leave their home, at least for a time, where flooding is expected to pose the greatest danger.
The conference comes a few hours after Gov. Nikki Haley listed three major areas of concern as floodwater moves across the state toward the ocean.
"Our number one goal is to convince those people to get out of their homes and to not see this as a hurricane, but to see this as a flood and a flood that doesn't go away overnight," she said.
Haley said Georgetown is the number one issue as her team moves forward.
"In the next 12 hours, Georgetown will start to flood," she said. "It will get worse, and it's going to last up to 12 days."
"If you are in the area of Georgetown, you are going to see people coming to your door telling you to get out," she said. "Please take precaution, please do what you need to do."
However, Georgetown County officials say the governor misspoke when she recommended evacuations for the Pawleys Island and City of Georgetown areas of the county. The county has only issued special instructions for the Oatland and Dunbar communities.
Georgetown County spokesperson Jackie Broach a boat and possibly a fire truck will be moving through the area at regular intervals to assist people in evacuation and will transport them to a nearby school.
There were no evacuations overnight in Georgetown Thursday.
As of Friday morning, Georgetown Emergency management is reporting no extra river flooding or emergency rescues, but residents aren't in the clear yet. There are several rivers nearby, some of which are expected to rise over the next couple of days.
If you need assistance, you can call the county's disaster call center at (843) 545-3273.
The second area of concern is Jamestown where in the next 72 hours, flooding from the Santee that has already been an issue is expected to combine with flooding from Lake Marion.
"If that spills over into the Santee, that's going to be extremely problematic," Haley said.
Highway 41 will be impassable, Haley said, and SCDOT will be looking at roads to make sure they are dealing with that going forward.
The third area is Givhans Ferry, also expected to flood in the next 72 hours from another one to two feet of water rising in the Edisto River.
"Anyone south of Givhans Ferry is going to have a problem," she warned.
"Highway 651 and the 17 Alt. route are going to be looked at and you should assume we are going to have to be closing those going forward," Haley said.
Haley said authorities are finding it difficult to convince people to take the threat seriously enough to leave.
"They have been in hurricanes," she said, but called the flooding on the way "a different kind of bad."
"What we need to you know is this is something we have never dealt with before," she said. "This flooding is going to get bad and it's going to sit for a very long time."
Haley said the sunny weather may work against authorities who are urging evacuations.
"Our goal is really, to be very honest, is we have thousands of people that won't move, and we've got to get them to move, and we've got to get them to see the seriousness of the fact that they don't need to be sitting in flooded areas for 12 days."
Haley said during her aerial tour over the state, she could see the water moving across the state.
"It really is harder to see what's underneath the water than the water itself," she said of the flooding aftermath.
Haley says making sure the state has the manpower to get them out is a priority and advised anyone who is home and wondering if the danger could affect them to call SCEMD at (866) 246-0133.
"Call us when in doubt and let us answer your questions," she said. "I know this is your home and this is your property, but this is your life and we want you to be very conscious of the fact that we are trying to save it."
Haley said the SCDOT has 2,100 maintenance people on the roads, and that number includes 200 engineers who will assess new vulnerable areas.
Moe than 3,000 National Guard members were on the ground across 15 counties.
The death toll has risen to 17, she said. The Highway Patrol has responded to 5,603 calls for service, and 2,549 of those were related to collisions. Authorities have performed 1,200 rescues statewide, 500 by firefighters and 700 by DNR officers. Fourteen dams have failed and officials are watching another 70 to make sure they do not add to that number.
As of Thursday, 38 boil water advisories were in effect.
She said 23 shelters are open with 474 occupants, but that this number was expected to rise.
Haley said she also saw the damage done to the state's agriculture industry, where officials are estimating $300 million in crop losses on farms that resemble 1,000 lakes.
Late Wednesday, federal disaster aid has been opened up for five additional South Carolina counties. Haley said FEMA teams will be on the ground Thursday in Abbeville, Bamberg and Colleton Counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had amended the disaster declaration for the recent flooding to make survivors in Calhoun, Darlington, Florence, Kershaw and Lee counties eligible for its individual assistance program.
Those five join a list that already included Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Clarendon counties.
Haley has consistently maintained this will be "a story of addition," with more counties expected to be added to that growing list as damage assessors are able to see the results of the flooding firsthand.
President Barack Obama has already signed a disaster declaration, ordering federal aid to help recovery efforts in South Carolina. The action taken Monday made federal funding available to people in eight counties. Three others were added earlier Wednesday.
"For those of you that have lost anything, I am extremely sorry that you are going through this," Haley said. "But I want to remind you that we are working in a coordinated effort to make sure that everything that is available to you will be there."
The sun is out, she said, but the water is coming.
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