FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – It’s been a harrowing day for those in the Pee Dee as Hurricane Matthew made his presence known in Florence.
“I think it’s a little bit worse this year, it just came on so quick,” said John Edwards.
Edwards has lived on Howe Springs Road for a long time, and said the wind and rain from Hurricane Matthew may be worse than the floods of just one year ago. In light of that, when he heard that Matthew was on his way to the Pee Dee, Edwards was ready for what the storm could bring.
“They actually stopped and waited thinking they could get across but we just had to pull a truck out,” he explained.
Edwards had his tractor ready and waiting for those who thought they could brave the washed-out roadway on Howe Springs.
“Two cars came through but he couldn’t make it,” Edwards said.”So now there’s one car completely underwater and two more just completely stranded.”
Several made the same mistake as the men Edwards helped Saturday afternoon. Florence County Emergency Management reports more than 100 rescues, including helping stranded drivers. The men Edwards pulled out Saturday count themselves lucky to get stuck on John Edwards’ stretch of road–and around other good Samaritans.
“That’s what we do in this community, you build and you do for others,” said Champ, one of the passengers in the truck Edwards pulled out.
“That’s the only way a community can be together.”
Chris Gibson, who evacuated from Charleston to Florence for the storm, said he’s happy people like John showed up to help.
“I thought the whole road was washed out honestly,” recalled Gibson. “I’m so glad he was here because originally he was gonna bring a chain and luckily he had a strap and I had a strap but we ended up using a chain so it worked out.”
Edwards said he had the road blocked so others would not get into similar trouble.
“Hopefully people will stay out of the barricades, if not, I hope they can swim,” he laughed.
As for the men and their pickup, they’ve added one more item to their next hurricane to-do list:
“Get a taller truck.”