Early Sunday, emergency management officials sent a statewide alert telling people to stay off roads and remain indoors unless their homes were in danger of flooding. Power was knocked out to about 50,000 residences and businesses in the two states as of early yesterday.
Meteorologist Peter Mohlin with the National Weather Service in Charleston said that while the rain had diminished in Charleston Sunday morning, there’s a chance of more showers later in the day. “DO NOT venture out!”
Counties reported more than 200 flood rescues since Saturday night, and more are expected, the emergency management office said.
Transportation officials said Gibson was with the agency’s Richland Maintenance Unit and was traveling in a truck that was caught in rushing waters, overturned and was swept away.
State emergency officials said Columbia residents should boil their drinking water.
In Columbia, the city received hundreds of calls requesting rescue and evacuation.
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. told The Associated Press that the torrential rain is over and that about an inch of rain or slightly more is forecast for the next 24 hours. The creek was 10 feet above flood stage, spilling floodwaters that nearly reached the stoplights at a four-lane intersection. “Exceptionally high” rivers could further damage South Carolina into Wednesday – “even though it will be sunny by then”, said NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins. He says the rainfall total would be higher by day’s end.
“We’ve seen people lose everything”, said his wife, Sharon McElveen, noting they lost only a small boat. “Thus, stay inside and do not get in there”, she said.
Those in distress should call 911 and they will be taken out on military vehicles and bused to shelters, he said.
His aunt, who didn’t appear to be injured, was heading with her nephew to his house in an unflooded area of Columbia, he said.
Not only are rivers flooded, but many roads are impassable to do dam failure.
The Columbia Fire Department had 140 firefighters are working around the county.
The fire department lost contact for about 40 minutes with a firefighter performing rescues, but Jenkins says he was found and is safe. No injuries or deaths have been reported.
“We’re counting ourselves very lucky that we’re uphill enough”, said Griffin Schultz, a resident of an apartment complex near one flooded area. “We’ll see what reports we get this week”.
State Rep. Kirkman Finlay says the state did not properly plan for the possibility of historic flooding, even though forecasters warned of the possibility days in advance.
“But the best thing is that we still have our lives”.
President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and ordered federal aid to bolster state and local efforts.
Four major highways leading to it were closed.
The potentially historic precipitation will last all 48 hours of the weekend, due to a 1-2 punch from Hurricane Joaquin over the open Atlantic and a second weather system: Joaquin drenches the Northeast and a separate low-pressure rainmaker dumps on the Southeast.
It is the sort of weather event expected only once in 1,000 years, Haley told an afternoon news conference in the capital, Columbia. On Thursday, a woman drowned in her auto in Spartanburg, South Carolina, while a passenger in a vehicle in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on a highway. Meanwhile, inland parts of South Carolina were also hit hard by the rain.
The rainstorm around the Southeast has drawn tropical moisture from offshore that’s linked up with an area of low pressure and a slow-moving front.
Over two feet of rain has fallen in Charleston County, South Carolina since late Thursday. Two mobile home parks in North Charleston were evacuated because rising floodwaters forced crews to cut off the electricity.
Downtown Charleston was closed off to incoming traffic Saturday as rain flooded roads and left a few motorists stranded as flood waters engulfed their cars.