CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Waccamaw River is expected to crest Thursday at 16.1 feet, and significant areas of the county could see flooding as a result.
As of Wednesday morning, the Waccamaw River was at 15.9 feet, well above the threshold for flooding, which is 11 feet. The National Weather Service predicts the river will peak at 16.1 feet at about 2 a.m. Thursday morning.
Horry County has released a map of areas along the Waccamaw River that could potentially flood at the 16-foot level, and parts of Conway, Socastee, and other locations near the river could see more significant flooding. Although flood waters are not supposed to rise significantly through the next 12 hours, three inches of rise could result in flood waters making it another 3-6 feet from where water levels currently are. This is because the land is so flat around riverbeds that it doesn't take much rise to cause major issues nearby.
The areas in Conway that will see the most impact as the river continues to rise are the Conway Marina, the government building, Riverfront Street, Lees Landing, Savannah Bluff, Pitch Landing, Bucksville, Oak Street and Punch Bowl.
Horry County Police and members of the National Guard will set up 14 check points along the river to provide security for property owners, and to assist with any issues they may encounter. Boat Patrol units from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will also assist with security of the flooded properties.
Horry County Fire Rescue will have a continued presence in flooded areas and will assist residents who choose to evacuate from their homes.
Many residents are choosing to stay though.
"Sit here on the porch and watch the boats go by. Normally, I sit on the back porch and watch the boats go by," said Ed Blanton, who lives on Riverside Drive. "But I'm just going to stay here."
Blanton said he's seen more severe flooding.
"I've had about half a dozen floodings," he said. "In '96, it got in my house and I raised the house up four feet."
However, this is the worst flooding the Johnson family has seen since they moved in December 1999, after Hurricane Floyd. Water is getting into the house for the first time.
"Being the property had never experienced water before and this was a 500 year flood supposedly, we went ahead and went through with the contract and we don't regret it," said Debbie Johnson.
People in the community take boats to get from their homes to the portion of the street where the flooding ends. It's inconvenient, but easier in some ways than leaving home behind.
"We don't want to let it go," said Forrest Johnson. "So we want to stay with it until the end."