Written by Andrea Martin. Media by Thomas Hajny.
Over 750 road rescues took place in South Carolina in a 12-hour span after the East Coast state was struck with flash floods, which has been caused by a “thousand-year rainfall.”
Weather records for South Carolina don’t go far back enough to suggest that it has ever rained this much in the state, so there was a 1-1000 chance of this happening in any given year according to Taylor Ward, a meteorologist.
Mount Pleasant received an astounding 24 inches of rain; surrounding areas of Charleston were swamped with nearly 20 inches.
Hundreds of homes and businesses in Columbia were flooded after more than a foot of rain was dumped into the city. Rescue team members were up to their waist as they tread the deep water that had flooded the homes and streets. Helicopter rescue teams did their part as they assisted in recovering victims from the flash floods off of rooftops.
Officials have reported at least three deaths.
The National Guard has been deployed to assist in dealing with the wreckage caused by a blend of a low-pressure system and some relatively small moisture from Hurricane Joaquin. Governor Nikki R. Hayley addressed the media voicing her concerns for this upcoming week.
“This is not going to clear up until at least Tuesday or Wednesday,” Hayley said. “Give us the space we need.”
Many other states on the East Coast – including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia – have all declared a state of emergency at one point, but the damage in those states is nothing compared to what South Carolina has faced in the past couple days.
“This is different than a hurricane because it is water, it is slow moving and it is sitting. We can’t just move the water out,” Governor Hayley said.
Emergency officials have told residents to stay off the road and to find suitable indoor residency until the floodwater recedes. A curfew was also issued for Columbia and across two surrounding counties. The floodwater also left some without clean water to drink, which left the city capital to tell all its inhabitants to boil water before consuming it.
Forecasters are predicting another 2-6 inches of rainfall over the span of the next couple days, and it could be until Tuesday until the East Coast state finally sees some sunshine.