Now, "Miss Robbie" does not know when she will return to her home of 50 years.
"I don't have any clothes," White said Tuesday. "I don't have any shoes. I don't have nothing."
The water was above White's knees when she left Fork Retch, a riverside community just south of the small town of
Flushed with water rushing downstream from hard-hit
"We're expecting waters to increase and for there to be more flooding and for more people to be in harm's way," said
Many in the tight-knit communities moved in with friends and family, though nearly three-quarters of
The area had experienced some flooding before.
And with frequent warnings from S.C. officials about Hurricane Matthew, residents were braced for some flooding. But even the oldest residents near
"Fifty years, and I've never had to worry about it," White said. "It's come up before -- don't get me wrong -- but nothing like this."
Four swift-water rescue teams from across the state were working in
Outside some flooded areas, neighbors pulled on waterproof boots, piled into jonboats and headed back toward their homes to retrieve pets and valuables, and to survey the damage.
Floating over neighborhood streets and front yards, they saw plenty.
The roofs of submerged cars, one-story homes and gazebos were visible above the brown water.
Street signs, stop signs and basketball goals peeked out just above the surface. Grills, golf carts and porch swings had been swept into the woods nearby.
The water was so high and telephone lines so low that boat passengers had to duck to get by at one point.
"Got me some riverfront property!" one man shouted from a passing boat.
At one two-story home along the
"It's the worst natural disaster that anybody here has ever seen," said
The storm will prove extremely costly for many here.
By Tuesday, the river water was 2 feet high in his home, likely causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, McClam estimated. He escaped the area Sunday on a four-wheel-drive tractor, adding the water rose faster than anyone could have expected.
"If I had known for sure it was going to take this route, I would have gotten out of here three or four days ago," McClam said.
"I'm supposed to graduate in May," Price said. "I hope they don't kick me out."
The flooding could prove especially costly for the many
White, who learned late Tuesday that her cats had been seen taking refuge on a neighbor's roof, was not one of them.
Now, she faces a costly recovery process. But, she said Tuesday, her family has been in Fork Retch too long to leave now. "Too much of my life is there," White said, after seeing cellphone photos of her flooded house, "whether I can salvage any of it or not."
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