BENNETTSVILLE — Police, firefighters and city workers all along the South Carolina and North Carolina border battled backed up storm drains and pooling water Sunday, as Florence continued to drill the region with sheets of rain.
By early morning, the lingering tropical storm had flooded out a portion of Interstate 95 in Dillon County. It was flooding fields next to Bennettsville and overrunning rural highways near Cheraw.
More than a foot of rain has fallen in the Pee Dee region, and the incessant barrage is expected to continue over the next several days as the center of Florence, a massive storm covering an area from Georgia to Virginia, finally moves west through South Carolina.
Communities in South Carolina's northeastern corner, along the Lumber and Waccamaw rivers, were bracing themselves for an onslaught of water rushing downstream from North Carolina, where several feet of rain fell this weekend.
The epicenter of the crisis is likely to be Conway, the seat of Horry County, where the Waccamaw River is expected to rise to nearly 16 feet by Friday.
That raging river is now expected to threaten to overrun two aging coal ash ponds and Route 151 just south of Conway.
Other rivers heading into the Grand Strand could also be overtaken by surging streams.
Not everyone in the Pee Dee was concerned about rising rivers nearby.
“We’re in good shape,” said Dwight Parker, a resident of Cheraw where the Pee Dee River is expected to reach a foot off the all-time record of 50 feet by Tuesday. “This is just a minor inconvenience.”
Parker was out Sunday morning inspecting the flooded roadway on Market Street in front of his house.
His rain gauge showed the tiny town on the Pee Dee River had received just over a foot of rain over Saturday and into Sunday. He said it’s likely the worst flooding the town had seen since 2015.
During that storm, he had several feet of water enter his basement. He bought a better pump since then, he said.