JASPER COUNTY, SC — Fifteen residents along the Savannah River in Jasper County have evacuated as the river reaches its highest level in 20 years, the county's emergency management director said Thursday.
Emergency management director Wilbur Daley said the majority of the residents of the homes near Tom Goethe Road in western Jasper County have left, with the rest expected to do so later Thursday.
Although the evacuation was not mandatory, Daley said residents left because it was becoming increasingly difficult to access their homes, and they were concerned power would be cut off as the rising water created a potential electrical danger.
The river's level measured 18.3 feet Thursday, the highest since it hit 18.5 feet on Jan. 18, 1993, according to the National Weather Service.
The river is expected to crest at 18.4 feet in the next two days, according to weather service projections, but it could take weeks for the water to recede enough for people to return to their homes, Daley said.
Daley said the higher levels are the result of more water being released from the upper sections of the Savannah River and heavy rainfall throughout the state.