While some Horry County residents spent the last few days cleaning up their lawns and prepping for more flooding, certain Georgetown County neighborhoods were asked to evacuate.
The Oatland and Dunbar communities – both off Browns Ferry Road – were placed under a voluntary evacuation Thursday afternoon. Georgetown County officials corralled local police, fire and South Carolina National Guard troops to perform evacuations to the secluded areas. People trickled out of their homes and into safer zones throughout Thursday and Friday, with help from county officials.
“While a mandatory evacuation order has not been issued, we do strongly encourage residents of the Oatland and Dunbar community to take this opportunity to evacuate,” officials said.
We were surprised by the amount of water we’ve gotten. I hope the Black River is cresting now, though.
Sylvester Butler, Oatland community resident
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Georgetown County schools were closed all week, and officials said they’d decide whether to open Monday by 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Oatland and Dunbar communities sit on the Black River and several roads were flooded Thursday and Friday, cutting residents off from the main highways. S.C. National Guard troops went door-to-door offering residents a ride in a military truck to Browns Ferry Elementary School; evacuees could either go to an emergency shelter in Georgetown or be picked up by family or friends.
A handful of people evacuated the area Thursday and many more left Friday afternoon. Sam Hodge, director of emergency management for Georgetown County, said about 300 people have evacuated the county’s dangerous areas.
Josephine Winns, who lives in the Dunbar community, took county officials up on their offer to evacuate. Winns jumped into the National Guard’s truck after unsuccessfully trying to convince her parents to also evacuate.
“I live right on the river so I thought I would play it safe,” she said. “My parents aren’t going to evacuate until it’s mandatory, though.”
Winns’ house wasn’t flooded but the river’s water was slowly creeping up the hill, she said. She didn’t want to leave her parents, but she said staying with her children in a Georgetown hotel was safer.
“I don’t know if it’s going to flood like they say,” Winns said. “I hope not.”
Argeno Frasier, who was also evacuated out of Dunbar, didn’t want to leave her house. Her two sons forced her to book a room at a hotel as well, though she said she’s still worried about looters.
“I’m worried about break-ins because there’s nobody patrolling out there,” she said.
As Frasier was standing in the parking lot of Browns Ferry Elementary - cars packed with food, clothes and valuables - she echoed the question many residents have expressed throughout the evacuation.
“What are we supposed to do now?” she said.
Georgetown County opened three emergency shelters around the county Thursday: Beck Recreation Center; Pleasant Hill Elementary School; and Andrews Recreation Center. Still, some residents chose to ride out the storm in their homes.
The banks on the river are built up high, but the water is already going over it.
Allen Cuttno, Dunbar resident
Keith Lance, of Dunbar, said his road is flooded but doesn’t have any water coming into his house. The water is slowly rising, however, which he noticed when he was driving through a blocked and flooded road.
“I’m trying to get to the store to get lunch meat and cheese for my family. It just keeps getting worse,” he said.
Lance and his family are going to stay put and hope for the best, even though the water is a few feet deep in places.
“If you are still in one of those areas and you don’t feel safe, please call us so we can get you to a safe place,” said Hodge, the emergency management director.
Anyone who needs assistance evacuating or has questions regarding the shelters should call Georgetown County Emergency Operations Disaster Call Center at (843) 545-3273.
Claire Byun: 626-0381, @Claire_TSN