Concerns about additional inundation in four coastal counties and more rain had South Carolina officials on guard Friday, October 9, nine days after a state of emergency was declared because of historic rains that washed out roads, swamped hundreds of homes and killed 17 people in the state.
Emergency management officials in several areas were encouraging residents to leave their homes as a precaution as floodwaters flow south into already-swollen rivers and tributaries toward the Atlantic Ocean.
In Jamestown, about 140 households along the Santee River were being urged to evacuate, said Berkeley County spokesman Michael Mule.
The National Weather Service in Charleston predicted a half-inch of rain would fall across much of the state starting Saturday morning, with some places getting up to an inch.
That comes after record rainfall of more than 2 feet (60 cm) in parts of South Carolina.
“We’ve moved right at a hundred individuals from those flooded homes there, we’re gotten them to a safe shelter, some have gone with family and friends, and other ones we have put in our shelters that we have set up,” said Sam Hodge, the Director of Emergency Management for Georgetown County.
Hodge said that along the Waccamaw and Black Rivers in Georgetown County, the water levels are about as high as they are going to get and improvement should be on the way.
“We’re seeing pretty much the magical height of the water when it comes to the Waccamaw River. The Black River is very close to cresting, which is probably one of our biggest concerns, so it’s great news to hear that the end is near,” said Hodge.
“The thing to remember with both of these rivers that the receding waters will take some time, it’s not like it’s going to go down in the next day or so,” added Hodge.
Governor Nikki Haley said emergency responders would continue monitoring water levels and go door-to-door to let residents know if they were in danger in the coming days.
Haley met on Friday with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who traveled to Columbia and Charleston to take stock of the flooding response and recovery efforts.
The governor would not estimate the financial toll from the record rainfall and flooding.