Georgetown hurricane haven for some, hunting grounds for others

Hurricane Matthew floods parts of downtown Georgetown

Parts of downtown Georgetown flooded and debris could be seen on roads Saturday morning from Hurricane Matthew.
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Parts of downtown Georgetown flooded and debris could be seen on roads Saturday morning from Hurricane Matthew.

Howling winds and soaking rains continued past midnight and into the wee hours of Saturday in Georgetown, but they had calmed by daylight.

Tree leaves and small limbs littered roads and water associated with rain Friday and Saturday made some of the downtown streets impassable.

Al Waldron, who has checking on his property Saturday morning along the waterfront, said some of the areas that flooded typically fill up with water during routine rains.

"It could have been worse,'' Waldron said.

But the water appeared to be deeper than normal Saturday, a police officer said.

Queen Street was impassable near Front Street, the city's main waterfront road in the downtown. Just up the block, more than a foot of water filled the intersection of Front with Orange Street near the Augustus and Carolina outdoor living store.

Water puddled and covered sections of the parking lot at the Rodeway Inn, which was packed with evacuees. It was the only inn found to be open in Georgetown.

Frank Williams, 46, checked into the aging motor court after fleeing his home in Charleston. Williams, who works in Myrtle Beach, figured Georgetown was a less hazardous place to endure the hurricane.

But as he sat in the open doorway of his motel room, Williams said he hoped he had made the right decision. His 2-year-old son and the boy's mother accompanied him to Georgetown.

"No telling how high the water might be,'' Williams said. "I've got to keep him safe. A hurricane, that's something rough.''

While the storm intensified, only a handful of businesses remained open in Georgetown and on the Waccamaw Neck. Among those was the Waffle House on U.S. 17 at Pawleys Island.

The Ice House, an iconic general store, was filled with people who stayed in Georgetown and streamed in to buy hot dogs, gasoline and groceries. Many were ordering food from the store's short-order grill.

But the run was having an impact on supplies. By the start of the weekend, the store had depleted its stock of chicken and milk, said Rob Price, whose family has owned the business since 1938. Business was up by about one-third from a normal day, he said, but Price said he kept the store open for other reasons, as well.

"It would easy for me to just walk away, but people need these things,'' Price, 56, said as people lined up at the checkout counter.

Despite how the storm was disrupting life on the coast, Conway residents Cody and Jodie Larimore had a great time Friday as the storm approached. They went hog hunting with their two dogs.

Cody had no luck, but Jodie managed to shoot a deer in the driving rain near McClellanville. The deer was on the back of their pickup when they stopped at the Ice House for supplies.

"I was trying to catch a hurricane hog, but that didn't work out too good,'' Cody Larimore said, explaining that he left his wife in a deer stand while he searched for hogs. "I was riding around looking for signs and I couldn't find no signs. I heard the rifle pop and she had got him. I was tickled. That's her first buck.''