LAURINBURG — Not quite two years ago, Hurricane Matthew caused devastation to the area, and with up to 20 inches of rain being predicted for Scotland County, it’s likely Hurricane Florence will hit the area even worse.
According to Director of Emergency Services Roylin Hammond, there isn’t just one area he’s worried about getting flooded — it’s the entire county.
“If we get the 20 inches being called for, it will flood the entire area,” Hammond said. “We have never had that type of rain. A perfect example is along river beds that never flood or low-lying areas will be flooded.”
Currently, the area might not be getting the high winds expected earlier in the week, but will likely be getting more rain. Back in 2016, Hurricane Matthew dumped 8 inches of rain, causing 3,974 Duke Customers and 1,664 Lumber River Electric Membership customers to lose power.
“If we do get this type of rain, which it could all still change, we will have all kinds of issues in the county,” Hammond said. “There will not be a place in the county that will not be susceptible to flooding. There will be water standing in places that haven’t had water standing in them.”
In preparing for the storm Public Utilities Director Stacey McQuage said that they have been clearing the drains to help the water go down — but with heavy rains, the drains might not be of much help.
“We’ve been out cleaning because a lot of the roads will get flooded,” McQuage said. “We will be trying to get out over the weekend when the winds calm down trying to make sure the drains are open.”
The issue with the drains is that only so much water can go down at a time. When heavy rain hits at once the drains do work, but it takes a period of time and during that period is when homes can be flooded and strand people. McQuage advises residents who are in low-lying areas to think about seeking shelter at the high school.
“If it does flood badly, residents could get stuck for a few days,” McQuage said. “My advice is that if you see it getting bad, you should probably go to the high school before you can’t.”
The wind and rains brought on by the hurricane will likely begin affecting the area by Friday morning. There has also been a curfew enacted to help protect residents.
Residents are encouraged to continue listening to the radio, NOAA and other media sites as the storm approaches and after it hits.
Be sure to stay up to date with The Laurinburg Exchange online and on Facebook throughout the storm.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]