Cherry Grove man still faces tough choice amid frequent flooding

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Harry Knapp was one of many in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee who dealt with immense flooding after Hurricane Matthew.

One year later, he’s content with his domicile’s makeover, but is still wary of what future weather may hold for his home.

“Just how am I going to pick up the pieces? And I was wondering at the time how long and drawn out this process was going to be. It was like the Tom Petty song for a while; the waiting was the hardest part,” said Knapp, reflecting on the year since the storm.

On Oct. 25, 2016, a WMBF News reporter saw Knapp sitting on his front porch, surrounded by furniture placed on his lawn. He had his head in his hands that day.

“Do I want to go through this again? Because I don’t know if I can, I really don’t,” Knapp said in 2016.

At the time, Knapp didn’t know if his home would surpass North Myrtle Beach’s 50 percent rule, which demands a house be put on stilts or demolished if over half is ruined by floodwaters.

Knapp’s home was declared salvageable.

“I skirted the line,” he said.

His neighbor wasn’t so lucky.

Now, while Knapp and his family love their renovated home more than ever, he’s still faced with flood worries.

“Irma scared us bad, and it was like déjà vu. It really was,” he said.

Like with Hurricane Matthew, Knapp said his family put sandbags at their doors, packed up and went to their neighbor’s home to wait out the storm for the second year in a row.

“I had sand bags up there, and it barely put the the water down. Then there was a big mess afterwards that took me a day-and-a-half to pump out of my backyard,” he said.

That pump is still in the yard.

Knapp said he and his wife are deciding if keeping their home the way it is will be worth it, with what seems like an annual threat of flooding. Irma brought a new conversation.

“We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” he said. “Are we going to bulldoze this thing? But I love this house. It’s bigger and better than it was before.”

Knapp said he’s lived in Cherry Grove for 30 years. Right now, he’s talking with several contractors to figure out his best option.

Until then, his family will enjoy the neighborhood he loves.

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