Shelters at Dent Middle School in Richland County and White Knoll High School are emptying Sunday morning.
The Richland shelter had 108 people staying there as of lights out Saturday night, said Dawn Barton, regional director for the S.C. Department of Social Services.
White Knoll had 147 people staying there Saturday night, said Harrison Cahill, spokesman for Lexington County. Just before noon Sunday, the headcount was down to 10 people, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.
Those who can’t go home are being referred to other shelters in the state which are staying open, Barton said.
Conway resident Julia Knowlin evacuated Tuesday, first staying in a hotel then finding a place at Dent Middle School shelter with family members. But she was moving on to another shelter in Andrews, after hearing from a son who rode out the hurricance in Conway that power was still out and there are flooding issues. The 62-year-old said she hopes to convince her son to come stay with her in Andrews.
“He’s very scared,” Knowlin said. “He said the way Conway looks, he said, ‘Mom, I think it’s going to be a long time before Conway gets better.’”
Yemassee resident Lisa Brown, 53, fled Thursday morning. Brown and seven others – her husband, her son, her daughter and her daughter’s children – packed into her Ford Focus and made the almost three-hour trip to the White Knoll shelter.
At one point during the trip, as the family stopped at a grocery store off Interstate 95, someone tried to break into the car. Brown said they came back from the store to find that the door had been damaged, but nothing had been taken from the vehicle.
After staying at White Knoll through Sunday, Brown said, the family planned to travel to a shelter in Orangeburg.
“Once they say the roads are open, we can go check on the home,” Brown said.
Though she hasn’t had anyone to keep in touch with back in Yemassee, Brown said, she has seen pictures of the area on Facebook.
“It’s a lot of flooding,” Brown said. “(There are) trees down, signs down, and I think my sister said her pecan tree fell.”
At the same time as the Red Cross shelters were taking in folks at Dent and White Knoll, a church-run operation was underway at Christian Center. Ron Huff, Richland 2 school district’s Hispanic family liaison, said the church took in Latino families.
The church is across from Dent Middle School, and Huff said he helped the two shelters coordinate. Organizers at the school shelter shared water with people at the church.
As of Saturday night, 75 people were staying in the church shelter. Many of those folks came from the Beaufort area.
“Some of the families were on the phone with people they work with in Beaufort, and they’re saying a lot of people in the neighborhood can’t go back in,” Huff said.
As of Sunday afternoon, four counties were still under evacuation orders: Beaufort, Jasper, Horry and Georgetown.