Death toll from South Carolina flooding hits 14

Death toll from South Carolina flooding rises to 14 as authorities say more evacuations might be ordered

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Woman abandons her car after it stalled on Duke Street due to heavy rain in Georgetown, South Carolina, in October

Fourteen people have died amid historic rainfall in South Carolina, the state's governor said on Tuesday, as residents grappled with the damage wrought by flooding on their homes, roads and water supply.

Predictions of sunny skies in coming days provided only small comfort, as more than 800 people remained in shelters after floodwaters forced them from their homes. Officials said more evacuations were likely as several rivers remained above flood stage and dams were being monitored for breaches.

Ten dams have failed so far, officials said at a news conference in West Columbia.

"We are still in the mode that the next 36 to 48 hours will be volatile," Governor Nikki Haley said. "Don't let the sunshine fool you."

Emergency management officials said about 300 state-maintained roads and 160 bridges remained closed. Haley stressed the need for motorists to mind police barricades on flooded roads after reports of people moving the barricades or driving around them.

"This is not safe," Haley said. "We are doing this to protect you."

Members of the South Carolina National Guard were also called in to assist state and county emergency crews and first responders.

More than 2 feet of rain (0.6 meters) have fallen since Friday in parts of South Carolina, which avoided a hit from Hurricane Joaquin but experienced record rainfall and flooding due to a combination of weather conditions mostly unrelated to that storm.

The extended rainstorm also was blamed for two deaths in North Carolina.

In the South Carolina capital of Columbia, which experienced its wettest days on record over the weekend, the University of South Carolina announced it was canceling classes through Friday due to the flooding.

The highest recorded amount of rain in South Carolina was 26.8 inches (68 cm), which fell over several days in parts of the state just east of Charleston, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Carl Barnes.