Governor Henry McMaster addressed the public in a press conference from South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) this afternoon at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
The governor, along with the National Guard, performed an air flyover of affected areas yesterday.
"From the air when you look down, you can't often can't tell where the river begins and where it ends because there is water everywhere." said McMaster.
The flooding has not yet reached Marlboro, Marion, Dillon and Horry counties, but the governor advised that it is coming toward the coast.
"We're still preparing for the onslaught of this flooding," McMaster stated. "We have every asset, every instrumentality available, everything that we have ever had...in gear and in position, ready and operating at this time."
According to the National Weather Service, flooding is occuring across the Pee Dee Basin, which includes the Great Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Lumber, Lynches and Waccamaw Rivers. Cresting is occuring on the Pee Dee at Cheraw, but may crest in several days downstream. Once the rivers crest, the flood waters will recede at slow rates, given the volume of water that fell, not only in South Carolina, but also in North Carolina.
Stay in touch with local public safety offices. Those residing in low-lying areas should take preparedness measures now, while they have time to protect property.
Flooding impacts create very dangerous conditions. Do not drive through flooded roadways. What may appear to be a small amount of water in a roadway may be covering a washed-out road that is completely gone.
Additional information on river flood stages can be found at the National Weather Service's Southeast River Forecast Center.
There have been six storm-related fatalities confirmed in South Carolina at this time. General Livingston of the National Guard said that all of Team South Carolina is working to support counties and municipalties throughout the state, mainly from Chesterfield County to the east. Around 3,080 National Guardsmen are working to provide everything from security operations and water purification to evacuation and rescue support.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) currently has 850 employees working in the Pee Dee area, due to this event and in anticipation of coming flooding. There are approximately 200 road closures throughout the state at this time, including 40 major roads, with severe mobility issues in Chesterfield and parts of Horry, Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties affected. That number will grow as the flooding makes its way through the state. Interstate-95 is still closed in North Carolina. I-95 northbound is closed in South Carolina beginning at mile marker 181. SCDOT and law enforcement are positioned to close highways in affected areas such as S.C. Highway 917 and Highway 501 at Galivant's Ferry, as flood waters arrive.
A reminder: South Carolina’s emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Anyone with questions related to Florence should call the Public Information Phone System at 1-866-246-0133.
For the latest closings, shelter listings and up-to-date information, visit the SCEMD website.
SCETV will be broadcasting all future press conferences related to Florence's after-effects and flood-related damage on television, radio, and our website, as well as streaming on YouTube and on Facebook.