South Carolina governor Nikki Haley warned of the possibility of more flooding in the state, emphasizing that water from the swollen rivers may flow into low-lying and coastal areas.
During her tour of the affected areas of Kingstree and Givhans Ferry, she said “what we saw was devastating.” She further said, “You’re seeing boats in yards, and you’re seeing houses underwater, and you’re seeing damage at levels we never thought we would see. The problem is, more is coming.”
According to NBC News, the areas lying south of Givhans Ferry could experience more flooding in the next 72 hours; Georgetown could see more flooding in the next 12 hours. The floods could last for up to 12 days, Haley said. “If someone comes and knocks on your door and tells you to leave — I know you’ve lived there a long time, I know that all your belongings are there, I know that you might have been through weather related issues before — this is different,” she said.
The South Carolina governor said that the flooding could be “a different kind of bad.” She also said, “We are having an issue getting those people to leave because they have been in hurricane situations.”
Areas of Dorchester, Charleston, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties that are situated close to the Waccamaw and Edisto rivers are expected to be affected by the flooding. The National Weather Service said that the Santee River, currently at 18.36 feet, could rise to 23 feet (13 feet above flood stage) by Saturday. The Edisto River is currently at 16 feet, which is six feet above flood stage, and Black River at Kingstree was recorded at 19 feet, seven feet above flood stage.
However, the warning of more flooding is not a mandatory evacuation order, South Carolina Emergency Management Division Director, Kim Stenson, said. While there are somewhere around 60,000 residents in the counties, the estimate of the number of people impacted by the flooding has not been made yet.
Speaking about her plan to visit the four counties, Haley said, “Our number one goal is to convince those people to get out of their homes.”
The military has been deployed to shore up the state’s water management system. Helicopters dropped in excess of 700 bags, weighing 3,000 pounds each, of rock and sand near the Columbia Canal, CBS News reports.
The historic flooding, being regarded as the worst in a thousand years, have caused the deaths of 17 people. The Beaver Dam, which threatened as many as 1,100 people, has been stabilized by crews. However, there has been a lack of preparedness in the wake of the “thousand year storm,” something that Haley has been criticized for. In contrast to zero dam failures in North Carolina, 14 have been reported in South Carolina. In addition, 16 counties have been declared as disaster areas.
The flooding also affected the state’s agriculture. South Carolina’s top agriculture official estimated that the state incurred almost $300 million in crop losses due to the severe flooding.
U.S. Senator, Lindsey Graham, said the flooding could “break the bank” of federal emergency funds, adding that it could go more than $1 billion.
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