"I think everyone learned from Hurricane Hugo (which struck the South Carolina coast in October 1989, blowing through Chesterfield County) that we need to be prepared for anything to happen at all times," Chesterfield County's Emergency Preparedness Director Richard Carnes said. "People need to listen to their local news and weather and keep up with what is going on."
When listening to the news, you have to understand the lingo, though, as most things are classified as a "watch" or a "warning."
A "watch" simply means conditions are favorable for a disaster to develop. A "warning," on the other hand, means the disaster has been spotted nearby.
Carnes, who took the job as the county's Emergency Preparedness Director just three days before Hugo swept through the state, said because Chesterfield County is so far inland, our biggest worries are heavy rains, high winds and possible tornadoes.
"Right now, the water table in the Pee Dee Region is about 8 1/2 inches above where it's been in the past four years," Carnes said. "Because the grounds are so wet, it wouldn't take hardly anything for a lot of areas to flood."
Carnes said as far as flooding, Chesterfield County is a lot better off than some other South Carolina counties, because it is not as flat. He adds that areas such as Pageland, Patrick and Cheraw, however, still suffer from flooding.
"As far as major problems, our biggest concern would be on roads where water stands," Carnes said. "In Pageland on S.C. Highway 207, motorists should be really careful about driving through standing water."
According to Carnes, areas around the Pee Dee River are also a concern when it comes to flooding.
For more of this story see the July 17, 2003 edition of the Chronicle and Advertiser.