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.

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