GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Sam Hodge of the Georgetown County Emergency Management Office says they've opened a shelter at J.B. Buck Education Center located at 2030 Church St. in Georgetown. An entire apartment complex was evacuated in the city of Georgetown due to flooding. Anyone who is displaced due to flooding can go to that shelter.
Additional emergency shelters are currently open at:
• Beck Recreation Center, 2030 Church Street, Georgetown
• Waccamaw Regional Recreation Center, 83 Duncan Road, Pawleys Island
• Andrews Elementary School, 13072 County Line Rd., Andrews
Residents stranded in vehicles are also calling for rescue. The City has declared a state of emergency. "The City of Georgetown is predominantly under water," said Joey Tanner, Georgetown.
The shelter set up at First Baptist Church in North Myrtle Beach on 2nd Avenue South closed at 6 p.m. Saturday and a new shelter opened at the Risen Christ Lutheran Church, located at 10595 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
Public Information Officer Jackie Broach said, the public is reminded that pets, firearms and alcohol are not allowed in shelters. People seeking admittance at a shelter may want to bring the following items:
- Any medications that will be needed
- Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags
- Eating utensils
- One flashlight per person
- Identification and valuable papers (such as tax bills, drivers licenses, utility bills)
- Baby food and diapers
- Cards, games and books
- Battery-operated radio
- Extra Batteries
- Drinking water
- First aid kid
- Nonperishable food
Georgetown has already received 5.7 inches of rain, and more is expected today and tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. With the ground already saturated and heavy rainfall expected throughout the weekend, Georgetown County Emergency Management Division is advising local residents to prepare their homes and businesses for possible flooding. Flooding will be exacerbated byhigh tides.
The flood watch for Georgetown County has been extended until later in the day Monday than originally called for and the National Weather Service has issued warnings that significant and even life threatening flooding could occur in our area. Additional heavy rainfall is expected throughout South Carolina today, with rains expected to move into North Carolina on Sunday. It is predicted that some areas of northeastern South Carolina may receive as much as 10 more inches of rain before this weather event is over.
Contingency plans are in place for emergency responders to deal with the possibility of stranded motorists, emergency calls in areas inaccessible due to flooding, and otherstorm-related calls for help. However, even with these plans and preparations, there may be response delays or, in extreme cases, even situations in which responding teams will not be able to reach an area until flooding recedes.
Practice extra caution, especially on roadways:
The combination of flooding and strong winds has the potential to cause downed trees and power outages. Residents should also be aware that flooding may occur well inland and even in the most western portions of the county.
If flooding occurs, take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones, including:
• Stay away from any downed electrical wires and report them to authorities.
• Do not attempt to cross flowing water on roadways. As little as six inches of water may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. Two feet of water will carry mostcars away.
• Be aware that flooding on roadways can be difficult to see and assess at night. Avoid driving if conditions seem unsafe.
• Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
• Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water is enough to make a person fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
• Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.
Prepare Your Home:
Residents who have not yet done so are advised to take the following precautions to prevent or minimize property damage or loss if flooding occurs:
• Secure or move outdoor items that may be carried away by flood waters, including outdoor furniture, fuel tanks and other items around the exterior of your home or business. If items cannot be tied down, consider moving them indoors or to higher ground.
• Consider moving essential or very valuable items to an upper floor.
• Disconnect electrical items where possible.
• Be prepared to turn off gas, electricity and water.
• Gather important documents, such as insurance policies and put them in a safe place.
• Residents who wish to use sand bags to redirect storm debris flows away from property can find them at most hardware stores. Bags should be filled to half-full. Fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top. It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water flows past.
After a flood:
• Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
• Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge orelevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
• Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
• Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded byfloodwaters.
• Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.
Dangerous rip currents and winds:
Conditions will create dangerous rip currents into next week. Residents are advised to check surf conditions before venturing into the ocean and be on the lookout for signs that rip currents may be present. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
Be aware that public beaches in Georgetown County do not have lifeguards. Beach goers should obey all instructions and orders from firefighters and law enforcement officers assigned to beach patrols. These professionals are trained to identify hazards.
County staff is working to monitor road conditions and is taking precautionary measures to help drainage systems handle runoff in hopes to minimize flooding.
For updates and future warnings, visit www.gtcounty.org<http://www.gtcounty.org> or follow Georgetown County government's Facebook and Twitter accounts. The county's automated information hotline is also active. The hotline, at (843) 545-3900, is available 24 hours a day.