NICHOLS, S.C. (WSPA) - In Nichols, a small town in Marion County just off the route to Myrtle Beach from the Upstate, state officials are working with local leaders to prep the town and residents for what may be catastrophic flooding courtesy of Florence.
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew left the entire town of roughly 400 residents under water.
The SC National Guard, SC State Guard, DNR, and SLED are on the ground in Nichols to support local officials in prepping for what could be a repeat or worse from two years ago.
Aat this point in time we are knocking on doors telling people to please evacuate. The threat is imminent,” said Maj. Glenn Hamm with the South Carolina State Guard.
Nichols Mayor Lawson told 7News the flood waters are expected to start to roll in soon and at last count they have evacuated all of the residents in the town, except for 5 who refuse to leave their homes and belongings.
Hamm said, “the information we have received is that there is a potential it will start within the next 16-24 hrs to flood.”
For three straight days, Maj. Hamm said guardsmen have been knocking on doors urging residents to evacuate.
Hamm said they are telling people that “there is a flood threat that could be greater than Matthew.”
Two years ago, torrential rain north of Nichols in North Carolina rushed into the town from the Lumber and Little Pee Dee rivers and submerged the entire town.
150 people were trapped in their homes and at the Town Complex and had to be rescued. The National Guard shut down all entrances into the town.
Since Florence made landfall in North Carolina Thursday, more than 30 inches of rain has fallen. All that water is coming toward Nichols in its local rivers in what seems like a repeat scenario from Matthew.
Search and rescue teams are here, including two boats and 4 first responders with the New Orleans-based Gulf States Dive and Rescue.
The team has helped in rescues in Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Isaac, and Harvey.
“While we may be saying there’s only 5 people in town, well, there may be other people taking care of family members and others passing through when it floods that could get trapped,” said Paul Fraser with Gulf States.
Officials said one fear is that residents who evacuated days before Florence was felt in South Carolina may be out of town and not know of this new threat.
They are urging them to stay where they are and not return to their homes until further notice.
Making matters worse, the town manager said Nichols is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.
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