DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Emergency management officials in the Pee Dee continue keeping a close eye on Hurricane Matthew’s track Thursday. While most agree that Darlington County does not need the rain that’s surely coming in the next few days, the county is working around-the-clock to make sure they’re ahead of possible flooding and wind damage.
Staff at Darlington County’s Emergency Operations Center are preparing for a long next few days. They will work night and day until the threat is over to prepare for the heavy rains likely coming along with Hurricane Matthew.
The team uses high-tech weather forecasting software to watch every move the storm makes. Emergency Management Director Mike MacDonald said the county is currently preparing for 30 mph sustained winds, and gusts above 40 mph–tropical storm-force winds.
When the wind comes, so do down trees and power lines, something the Emergency Management team is prepared to deal with. Crews are on standby, ready at a moment’s notice to make sure roads are clear during the storm.
It’s not just the wind causing concern, but the rain as well.
County officials are preparing for five to six inches of rain, a problem that may be compounded by poor drainage in some areas including the city of Darlington.
“The city has been preparing for the storm all week,” said Lisa Rock, Darlington City Planning Director. Rock said while storm water and drainage issues have been a problem in the past, the city is ready for Matthew.
“We’ve been cleaning storm drains, making sure that debris is off the major roadways,” Rock explained. “We’ll also be putting out cones in areas we know that there will be flooding.”
Rock also said the city will close Williamson Park and Williamson Park Road starting Friday.
“We typically have trees fall in that preserve and so we’re just gonna get ahead of that,” said Rock.
City staff and emergency services will also be working extra shifts to make sure they’re ready during the worst of the storm.
Rock said if your power goes out or you have a gas service issue, please call that particular company and not 911, so that those lines can remain free for emergency services.
If you have water/sewer issues, or would like to report a downed tree in the city, the after-hours service number is (843)-758-1127.