Shawn Lowrimore, Pastor Willie Lowrimore of The Community With Jesus Ministries’ son, wade, in the water, in the vicinity of the church in the Yauhannah, S. C., on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. The church is on the bank of the Waccamaw River that has already risen above its record crest, and is expected to continue to rise for several days, causing thousands of evacuations in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. (AP Photo/Jeffrey S. Collins)
GEORGETOWN, S. C. – Eleven days ago, Lee Gantt on a Hurricane Florence party in her neighborhood in Georgetown, where the story goes that some of the houses have not flooded the Sampit River because they were built before the American Revolution.
They will spend Tuesday with sandbags, watching the nearby river, the rise of Florence’s heavy rains and see if the luck finally runs out on her house built on Front Street in 1737.
“We thought that this might come. We have just left everything above the ground, like the hurricane. I’m nervous. Can’t you see me shaking?” she said, stretching her arms out.
The Sampit is one of the five rivers which reach the Atlantic Ocean and in the neighborhood of Georgetown on the coast of South Carolina. And Hurricane Florence — which began with a record rainfall in North Carolina — is expected to lead to record flooding downstream in Georgetown County as his last act. So much water is coming, that it is a back-up other rivers that not even floods.
The county has recommended nearly 8,000 people to leave their homes — more than 10 percent of the population. The officials expect that water to top different bridges, almost cutting of Georgetown County in two and leave only a highway in the course of the expected to crest early Thursday.
The flood has made its way so slowly the Wood, Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers that the state in the last week released detailed maps on where he expects the flooding. Upstream in Horry County, the floodwaters have penetrated to approximately 1,000 homes in the neighborhood of Conway as the Waccamaw River is slowly making its way to a crest of a full 4 feet (1.2 metres) in the record-level only two years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
But in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said it was time to start concentrating on the recovery. “Florence is gone, but the storm the devastation is still with us,” Cooper said at a press conference.
About 400 roads in North Carolina have remained closed due to the storm that claimed at least 46 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14. The crews have reopened the major highways shut down in the storm. Interstate 95 is back open to all traffic the night of Sunday to Monday for the first time since the floods, and Cooper said Monday that a previously closed part of Interstate 40 was reopened earlier than expected.
Power outages and the number of people in the reception were also declining. About 5,000 people were without power, down from a peak of about 800,000 and about 2,200 people were in shelters, compared with a height of around 20,000, the governor said.
In Washington, lawmakers considered nearly $1.7 billion in new money for relief and recovery. And the economic research firm Moody’s Analytics estimated that Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, one of the 10 most expensive U.S. hurricanes. The worst of the disaster with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, cost $192.2 billion in current dollars. Last year, Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion.
Down in Georgetown County, it is a disaster for almost two weeks in the making. Georgetown County days under hurricane warnings before Hurricane Florence made landfall about 110 miles (175 km) of the coast near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
The worst of the storm stayed well north, leaving only a small flood in Georgetown and, in some cases, limbs.
“We had a hurricane party,” Gantt said. “Now I don’t know what to do.”
Several blocks up Front Street, the main business district was busy, but with people leaving. Along the sidewalk were piles of works of art, antiques, and boxes as the owners emptied out the stock to take to higher ground.
Tomlinson department store sent an empty truck that is normally used for the stock of the stores and employees rushed to fill it with everything. The store has never been under water, but predictions call for up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water by Thursday. “The expectation is nerve-wracking. Although, I’m glad we had the time to do this,” said district manager Kevin Plexico.
Georgetown was positioning the ambulance and firetruck in the busy, tourist area along the beaches in the case that the floods cut off of U. S. Highway 17 bridges as expected. The national Guard troops were prepared to float more equipment on the other side of the river if necessary. Exhausted emergency officials said that they have lived nothing but Florence for more than two weeks.
“The work is done,” Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber said. “We just need to pray.”
Associated Press writers Gary D. Robertson and Alex Derosier in Raleigh; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; and Sarah Brumfield in Washington contributed to this report.
For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes