Historic South Carolina floods with heavy rain and hundreds rescued
Hundreds of people were rescued from fastmoving floodwaters Sunday in South Carolina as days of heavy rain hit a dangerous crescendo that buckled buildings and roads, closed a major East Coast interstate highway route and threatened the drinking water supply for the capital city.
The powerful rainstorm dumped more than 30 centimeters of rain overnight on Columbia, swamping hundreds of businesses and homes. Emergency workers waded into waist- deep water to help people trapped in cars, dozens of boats fanned out to rescue people in flooded neighborhoods and some were plucked from rooftops by helicopters.
Officials said it could take weeks or even months to assess every road and bridge that’s been closed around the state. Several interstate highways around Columbia were closed, and so was a 120-kilometer ( 75- mile) stretch of Interstate 95 that is a key route connecting Miami to Washington, D.C., and New York.
“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,” South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said at a news conference.
One death was reported in the area on Sunday, bringing weather-related deaths to seven since the storm began days earlier.
People were told to stay off roads and remain indoors until floodwaters recede, and a curfew was issued for Columbia and across two surrounding counties. The capital city 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. Nearly 30,000 customers were without power at one point.