Florence could lead to ‘record’ floods in South Carolina; thousands urged to evacuate

The church of Pastor Willie Lowrimore of The Community With Jesus Ministries is on the bank of the Waccamaw River, which 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)

Florence is swamping south Carolina, where the rivers remains high above flood stage and thousands of people had to plan to leave their homes Monday.

About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential inundation areas with a projection of a “record-event” of up to 10 meters of the floods, which is expected to begin Tuesday in the vicinity of parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.

“If you have received a message from your county emergency management office to tell you to evacuate due to flooding…you need to do exactly that: leave,” the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) tweeted.

SCEMD advised the Carolinians to avoid the flooded roads and limit unnecessary travel.

The county’s emergency management director Sam Hodge said in a video message posted online that the authorities closely in the river, the meters, and the enforcement of the law would go from door to door in all the threatened areas.


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“Boots on the ground to the technology that we have, we try to be able to deliver the message,” Hodge said, warning people not to wait for an official evacuation order if they begin to feel unsafe.

Residents along the Waccamaw were bracing for the water expected to peak on Wednesday, 22 metres in the vicinity of Conway. That is twice the normal flood stage, and much higher than the previous record of 17.9 metres, according to the graphs published by the National Weather Service on Monday.

The Cape Fear and Neuse rivers remain swollen, and not expected to return to normal levels until the end of October, the charts show.

s of Interstate 40 are expected to remain underwater for a week or more, and hundreds of smaller roads continue to pass through, but there was still more good news: Interstate 95 is back open to all traffic the night of Sunday to Monday for the first time since the floods, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced.


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Water is already receding on a stretch of Interstate 40 in thousands of rotting fish on the sidewalk for firefighters to clean up. Video showed firefighters rays of the dead fish from the highway with a fire hose in Pender County in eastern North Carolina. The fire brigade posted online: “We can ‘wash the fish off of the interstate” on the long list of interesting things firefighters get to experience.”

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said major flooding continues in the eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.

“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement Sunday evening. He added that the crew performed over 350 saves in the weekend and that travel remains treacherous in the south-eastern area of his state. But he said National Guard members would shift in addition to more door-to-door and air search for wellness checks on people in still-flooded areas.

The storm has killed at least 43 people, because it hit the coast Sept. 14.


In Washington, lawmakers have seen a nearly $1.7 billion in new money for relief and recovery, even if they are faced with a deadline this week for the funding of the government for the Oct. 1 start of the new financial year.

The chairman of the House appropriations Committee said that the money would be available as grants for states to assist in the reconstruction of housing and public works, as well as assist businesses as they recover. GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey called it “a first round” and said lawmakers are ready to act quickly if the federal disaster relief agency also needs more money.

An economic research firm estimates that Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, making it 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, while last year’s Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion. Moody’s Analytics, offered a preliminary estimate that Florence has caused $40 billion in damages and $4 billion in loss of economic output.

In other developments, at least three wild horse herds survived Florence on North Carolina in the Outer Banks, but the keepers were still trying to account for a herd to live on a hard-hit barrier island, the News & Observer reported Sunday. Employees plan to make trips to the island this week to check on the Shackleford Banks herd.

North Carolina environmental officials also said they are closely monitoring two sites where Florence flooded area are under a coal ash sites.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Subtropical Storm Leslie maintained maximum sustained winds of 40 mph while driving east on the middle of the Atlantic ocean, and Tropical Depression Kirk spread over open water.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor related geopolitical, military, crime, technology, and sports for His e-mail is

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