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Nikki Haley: S Carolina Flooding 'Worst in 1,000 Years'

Nikki Haley: S Carolina Flooding 'Worst in 1,000 Years'
(AP)

Sunday, 04 October 2015 05:55 PM

 Persistent torrential rainfall in South Carolina caused dangerous flooding in main cities on Sunday and prompted hundreds of rescues through shoulder-deep waters across the southeastern state.

No deaths had been reported in the flooding, although five traffic fatalities in North and South Carolina were blamed on some of the wettest weather in recent memory.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said parts of the state were hit with rainfall that would be expected to occur once in a thousand years, with the Congaree River running at its highest level since 1936.

“This is the worst flooding in the low country [the region around the South Carolina coast] for a thousand years, that’s how big this is,” Haley said at a Sunday afternoon press conference. “That’s what South Carolina is dealing with right now.

"That's why we keep telling people to stay off the roads," Haley told a news conference.

Overnight rains flooded highways along the South Carolina coast between Charleston and Georgetown, the National Weather Service, or NWS, said. The coastal city of Georgetown, population 9,000, was predominantly under water.

"We have every ambulance in the county out responding to calls. People are being moved from their homes in boats," Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach said.

Inland flooding also hit the state capital, Columbia, where the Congaree rose 10 feet in 12 hours and was at flood level, according to local officials.

State emergency officials urged residents not to travel due to unsafe roads and curfews were instated in several places, including Columbia. Schools and universities in South Carolina canceled classes on Monday.

"The flood is unlike anything we've ever dealt with before," said the mayor of Columbia, Steve Benjamin, after declaring nighttime curfew starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, according to his Twitter page.

Columbia has a population of about 130,000 and is at the confluence of several rivers swollen by several days of heavy rains.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina on Saturday, making federal emergency funds available.

Precipitation records fell in many places, including Charleston which in less than four days broke the record for the greatest monthly rainfall for October.

More than 18 inches of rain have fallen in one area in South Carolina and more is expected, forecasters said.

Counties reported more than 200 rescues from flood waters since Saturday night and more are expected, the emergency management division said in a Twitter post.

More than 100 people in Richland County were rescued from vehicles that tried to cross flooded roads.

The American Red Cross opened 18 shelters across the state, the organization said on Twitter.

Officials warned dam owners and operators to be vigilant about water levels at the 2,500 to 2,700 dams in South Carolina, with many already overtopping, said Jim Beasley, a South Carolina emergency response official.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Persistent torrential rainfall in South Carolina caused dangerous flooding in main cities on Sunday and prompted hundreds of rescues through shoulder-deep waters across the southeastern state. No deaths had been reported in the flooding, although five traffic fatalities in...
nikki, haey, flooding, worst
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2015-55-04
Sunday, 04 October 2015 05:55 PM
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