South Carolina faces more flooding after rainfall records reach the worst in 1,000 years
South Carolina is enduring the worst rain in 1,000 years. Record amounts of rainfall battered the state this weekend, shocking residents and officials who've never witnessed such a powerful storm in the region, but it's not over yet.
More than 20 inches of rain have fallen in parts of the state since Thursday, when hurricane Joaquin began nearing the east coast, prompting officials to shut down roads, close school districts and enforce mandatory curfews.
Heavy rain continues to fall over the Carolinas today and local authorities have commenced door-to-door search and rescue for residents.
People who are rescued will be taken out of the flood zone in military vehicles and transported by bus to a designated safe zone shelter, according to ABC News. Crews will also mark a bright orange ‘X’ on the front door of houses that have been checked.
At least 600 National Guardsmen, 11 aircraft and eight swift water rescue teams are taking part in search and rescue efforts. More than 200 water rescues took place in the state from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, the state's emergency management agency said.
With 20,000 homes and businesses without power across the state, the National Weather Service also warned people of winds gusting to 30 mph, increasing the risk of falling trees.
More than 35cm (13 inches) has fallen in three days in Charleston, South Carolina causing schools to shutdown today (Monday) and the closure of several inter-state highways.
On Sunday afternoon, Governor Nikki Haley told reporters that there had been 754 calls for assistance and 320 collisions 12 hours before her press conference.
She said: "We haven't seen this level of rain in the low country in 1,000 years, that's how big this is."
Gov Haley has also urged people to stay inside and resist temptation to go out and take photos or play in the water, as it may be carrying harmful bacteria.
Mind-boggling rain amounts so far: 24+" 3NNE Boone Hall 18+" near Kiawah & Huger 16.61" CHS Airport 14.25" DT CHS http://t.co/Mh9bmBhfFm— NWS Charleston, SC (@NWSCharlestonSC) October 4, 2015
Mayor of Columbia, SC, Steve Benjamin, tweeted information about a Flood Disaster Relief Fund set up by United Way of the Midlands.
He also tweeted: "We can replace property but we can't replace lives. Please stay off the streets and let our first responders do their job."
Authorities in Columbia told all 375,000 of its water customers to boil water before drinking because of water line breaks and the threat of rising water to a treatment plant, according to NBC News.
Please share -Flood Disaster Relief Fund | United Way of the Midlands https://t.co/Q7085wtdZd— Steve Benjamin (@SteveBenjaminSC) October 5, 2015
At least eight people have died in the Carolinas, six deaths were reported in South Carolina, four of them from traffic accidents and two more were reported in North Carolina.
The total 24-plus inches of rain in Boone Hall and 18-plus inches near Kiawah are "mind-boggling," the National Weather Service bureau in South Carolina tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Rainfall in the area broke several records in Charleston, South Carolina, including greatest one day rainfall at 11.50 inches (record 1998), greatest 2-day rainfall at 13.11 inches (record 1973), greatest 3-day rainfall at 14.48 inches (record 1973) and greatest monthly October rainfall at 16.61 inches (1994).
Charleston set a new daily record on Saturday when it experienced 11.5 inches of rain, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported.
The NWS wrote in an update: "To put this in perspective, 11.50 inches is 22.5 per cent of the annual normal rainfall for the City of Charleston."
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina. The move means state and local authorities can receive federal help to deal with the flooding.