Georgetown County responds to October’s historic flooding report

GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – The National Weather Service released its assessment of the October floods. The report showed 19 people in South Carolina were killed because of the floods and it caused nearly $1.5 billion in damage.

It’s been almost ten months since the historic flooding happened. Some people in Georgetown have recovered while others are still without a home.

Water that wouldn’t stop falling damaged and almost ruined Kathy Miller’s family business called Lemon Drops.

“I thought it was over. This is my husband’s and I job. This is our only income, we’ve invested everything we have in this store and we could have lost everything in a matter of three days.”

After five days of uncertainty and months of repairs, Lemon Drops is luckily doing fine.

“We had our best year ever last year, we’ve been here six years, we’re thirty eight percent over that this year.”

But a good percentage of people are still not back in their homes or their businesses. Georgetown County emergency management director Sam Hodge said the flood displaced about 600 families. Some still are displaced.

“I’d say there are still a good 100 families or so that are still displaced.”

Hodge said there could have been more but said his team was prepared.

“When Hurricane Joaquin was making, approaching the Carolina coast we were already engaged in the emergency operations center so we already had some of our key players in place.”

Hodge wishes he could have done more. In his 26 years in the business he said he’d never seen anything quite like this.

“Even looking back to Hurricane Hugo we didn’t have near the damage that we had during the October flooding in Georgetown.”

He said this is just one disaster and there will be another one. But before there is a next time, he said the county needs more river gauges.

“The closest river gauge that we have in Georgetown county is located in the Jamestown community so we rely on that one gauge and with Georgetown having five rivers. It’s one of those things that one gauge can’t serve all five of them.”

The county won’t be the only one preparing for another disaster. Miller said before the water falls again, she’ll be ready.

“Also be smart about the future because it will happen again.”

Hodge said the most frustrating part of the flood is the recovery process. He said it could be as early as the spring before some will see any federal money.

 

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