Historic floods wash out hundreds of S.C. roads – and more rain is coming

A storm system is expected to stall near the coast this weekend, causing up to an inch of rain in some areas. Governor Nikki Haley is urging residents evacuate. 

Randall Hill/Reuters
Lewis Johnson makes his way to help a neighbor remove valuables from a flooded home on Frank Williams Road in Georgetown, S.C., Thursday. South Carolina's governor warned on Thursday that several coastal areas were about to be hit by a second round of major flooding, while residents inland hauled soaked furniture and appliances from homes left in ruins by unprecedented rainfall.

After historic flooding in South Carolina, sunny skies are currently gracing the state – but not for long. Even more rain is on the way.

The National Weather Service expects a storm system to stall near the coast this weekend, causing up to an inch of rain in some areas. It is expected to start late Friday night, with the heaviest rain coming Saturday, and then will taper off on Sunday.

Residents near the coast are building sandbag fortresses around their homes and businesses before they evacuate.

Flooding was not an immediate threat for the homes of Thursday’s evacuees, but some homes have been isolated due to road flooding nearby, which Gov. Nikki Haley warned could worsen.

Governor Haley implored those in coastal areas to “strongly consider evacuating” before floodwaters reach those areas, but there is no mandatory evacuation.

"We have thousands of people that won't move. And we need to get them to move," she said. "They don't need to be sitting in flooded areas for 12 days."

"We want people to be hyper-vigilant," said South Carolina National Guard Cdr. Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston, expressing frustration over people who have become "complacent" in recent days.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson plans to visit Columbia and Charleston to survey the recovery efforts and meet with federal, state, and local officials who have managed the crisis.

South Carolina is still dealing with the aftermath of the unprecedented downpours, which dropped up to 20 inches of rain over five days in some parts of the state. According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, as of Friday morning, 260 roads and 125 bridges remain closed. There is still a boil water advisory for some residents.

And the death toll has reached 17, according to The Weather Channel.

"This is the most water I have ever seen," National Guardsman Michael Sanders told the Associated Press. "There is water running across the roads and there is water in yards, some worse than the others."

Mr. Sanders said it took an extra four hours to travel from the state capital of Columbia to Georgetown, where he reported for disaster response work.

The bright side? The floods have nearly wiped out the drought in South Carolina. Before, 72 percent of the state suffered from drought conditions, while only five percent does now.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.