Bright sunshine and almost-dry yards along Cannon Bridge Road make it seem like the county’s excess water has flowed on toward the coast, but it’s a different story for people living on the banks of the Edisto River.
D.C. Thomas, who lives at Livingston’s Landing, has to crank up his backhoe to get out of the yard – or at least to get from his house to the road.
Actually, Thomas has no yard at this time.
“I’ve been through three floods, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Thomas, who moved there in 1986. “It has never made it up under my house before.”
The water came up at least 140 feet further than it usually does. It’s gone down some, but it has left silt and mud and who knows what else underneath his house, he said.
On Thursday morning, Thomas cranked up the backhoe for a tour of his property.
His house, which is built on stilts like a beach house, appeared to be sitting on the edge of the river with a few trees and shrubs poking up out of the water. A half-submerged automobile sat to the left, and quail, chickens and white pigeons rested in nearby trees.
One dog was living on the deck of his house while others were in kennels sitting on structures that held them up over the water.
To the right stood an “island” where three horses contently fed on a huge bale of hay beside a white truck. Two cars, belonging to Thomas’ sons, were loaded on a lowboy trailer to keep them out of the water.
Thomas raises dogs, quail and gamecocks that he came close to losing this week.
The water started rising pretty rapidly Sunday night, he said. Fortunately, his son Dillon woke up and checked on the animals.
At that time, the water was rising about an inch an hour, he said. He and Dillon started working to save the animals and secure property at about 3 a.m. They worked throughout the next day.
“We threw the quail and chickens up in the trees,” he said. Unfortunately, he lost 50 or 60 quail anyway, he said.
They moved the kennels and raised them about four feet.
The dogs were scared and made the most awful racket, Thomas said. That scared the horses, who were standing in water that was coming up on their bellies.
It was difficult to get them to move, he said. “But I opened the gates and got in my truck.”
Since he hauls feed in his truck, he knew the horses would follow it. He drove it to the highest point in his yard – the spot that’s now an island – and parked it.
The water was up to the horses’ knees there, but that was a lot better than being up to their chests, he said.
The water was rising so rapidly he wasn’t able to move the truck, so it’s still sitting in the same spot, Thomas said.
He lost quite a few tools, lumber and other items that he uses in construction.
“It just floated away,” he said. “The only thing that didn’t float away was the trash – the trash is still here. It’s amazing.”
All the water is flowing toward Edisto Beach, and along with it are tires that fit his various vehicles and white and blue barrels that held his tools and other items.
“I know without a shadow of a doubt, somebody’s going to be blessed if they pick up some of my tubs,” he said. “You put them in the tubs and you can seal them up. They’ll be fine.”
According to Thomas, the water is running across his property from Cannon Bridge Road all the way to Highway 21, a distance of almost two miles.
The wild animals – foxes, armadillos, bobcats, deer – they’re looking at the people like they’re asking for help, Thomas said.
There’s almost no land for them, he said. Some are walking in water almost up to their necks.
A half-grown fox sat on a neighbor’s front porch all week with the water flowing around him, he said. “He was looking at us like he was saying, ‘Y’all help me get out of this mess.’”
According to Thomas, the water’s dropped 9.5 inches since Monday, and he hopes to see some grass in his yard by Saturday or Sunday.
Other people with homes along the river are having trouble getting to them.
Louis “Skeeter” Ott owns a home on the river near Branchville. As of Wednesday night, he said the water had not reached his house, but the road in was flooded.
“I’ve got about 200 yards of road that’s underwater, waist deep,” he said Thursday. “I’m going to paddle in today and check it out.”