Articles

October, 2015 Statewide Flooding Incident

October, 2015, Heavy Rains and Severe Flooding
 
Incident Period: October 1-23, 2015
  • Storm related fatalities: 19
  • Displaced citizens: more than 20,000
  • Shelters: 32 (includes standby locations)
  • 26 counties with shelters
  • 941 citizens sheltered
  • Emergency meals served:  more than 2,000,000
  • Citizens without water: 40,000
  • Highway Patrol calls: 8,407
  • Collisions during the event: 3,521
  • Dam breaches/failures: 50
  • Dams under emergency orders: 75
  • Roads and bridges closed: 500+
  • Water rescues:  more than 1,500
  • Calls taken by the Public Information Phone System: 12,900+
  • State logistics requests: more than 900
  • EMAC (Mutual Aid from other states): 42 requests fullfilled by ten states
  • SC National Guard deployed: 4,100 personnel
  • Counties declared disasters: 36
Private Insurance Claims: 65,562
Total Privately Insured Losses: $283,673,951.45 
 
People receiving aid through FEMA/SCEMD: 28,160
Total dollar amount of FEMA individual assistance: $89,151,924.60
 
Total cost of disaster to date: $2.2 billion (estimated as of August 2016)
*Includes total government agency cost, private insurance claims and estimated agriculture losses.
 
 
S.C. Flood Survivors have until January 3 to Apply for FEMA Assistance
Columbia, S.C. - The deadline for survivors of South Carolina’s historic floods to register for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance has been extended an additional 30 days to midnight, Jan. 3, 2016.

 
The extension agreed upon by the state and FEMA is for survivors living in 24 counties designated for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Assistance program: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter and Williamsburg.
 
Federal disaster assistance for individuals and families may include money for temporary housing; rental assistance; emergency home repairs; personal property losses; medical, dental and funeral expenses; and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance.
 
There are several ways to register. Individuals may register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 toll free from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Survivors who use 711 or Video Relay Service or require accommodations while visiting a disaster recovery center may call 800-621-3362.
 
Survivors may also register at a disaster recovery center. They can locate their closest center by visiting asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm.                                  
For more information on South Carolina’s disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4241.

 
 
S.C. Flood Survivors in 24 counties can apply for FEMA Disaster Aid
COLUMBIA, S.C. (November 3, 2015, 1 p.m.) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster declaration for the recent flooding in order makes survivors in 24 South Carolina counties eligible for the Individual Assistance program. 

Survivors who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Disaster assistance applicants who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Assistance can include money for temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs for primary homes, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help survivors recover from the effects of the disaster.

Now, residents who were affected by severe storms and heavy flooding in the following 22 counties can apply for FEMA assistance: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter  and Williamsburg counties.
 
S.C. Flood Survivors in Two Additional Counties can now Apply for FEMA Disaster Aid
COLUMBIA, S.C. (October 21, 2015, 10 a.m.) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended its disaster declaration for the recent flooding in order to make survivors in Fairfield and Marion counties eligible for Individual Assistance.

Survivors who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Disaster assistance applicants who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Assistance can include money for temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs for primary homes, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help survivors recover from the effects of the disaster.

Now, residents who were affected by severe storms and heavy flooding in the following 22 counties can apply for FEMA assistance: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter  and Williamsburg counties.
 

State Moves to OPCON Four
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Friday, October 16, 2015, 5:45 p.m.) – The South Carolina Emergency Response Team is transitioning from Operating Condition Three to OPCON Four, the second lowest level of five operational conditions the state uses. The State Emergency Operations Center will continue operations as the SERT enters the 17th day to support local governments and residents in their on-going flood recovery efforts. 

 

The Waccamaw River remains in major flood state, and five other counties have rivers at flood-level. More than 1600 National Guard members remain activated, three shelters are open, and 163 roads and 64 bridges are closed.
 
Harvest Hope and Low County food banks continue to provide meals to survivors, with 1,244,824 meals served since Oct. 1.
 
Twenty counties received a Federal Disaster Declaration. Severe flood survivors are now eligible for federal disaster aid in Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.
 
FEMA is operating 17 Disaster Recovery Centers in the affected area. Nearly 50,000 survivors registered with more than $27 million in disaster assistance funds approved.
 
Local, state and federal disaster recovery officials continue to urge anyone who was affected by severe flooding to register for disaster assistance from FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or to go online at disasterassistance.gov.

 

South Carolina Severe Flooding Recovery Update
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Thursday, October 15, 2015, 2:45 p.m.) – The South Carolina Emergency Response Team remains fully dedicated to ongoing relief and recovery efforts as a result of the October severe storms and subsequent flash flooding:
The state Emergency Operations Center is activated at Operating Condition 3. State agencies are transitioning into disaster recovery roles jointly with FEMA.

  • The S.C. Department of Transportation reports as many 178 state maintained roads and 73 bridges remain closed.
  • The S.C. National Guard has 1,880 personnel mobilized, including soldiers from North Carolina.
  • Emergency management teams Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee are deployed in South Carolina supporting relief efforts.
  • The Salvation Army and Red Cross report a combined total 69,295 meals served to disaster survivors.
  • Four shelters are open, serving 156 occupants.
  • SCEMD’s Public Information Phone System will be deactivated at 4:30 this afternoon. Throughout this emergency, the PIPS call center answered more than 12,000 calls from people seeking information related to flooding.
  • Twenty counties received a Federal Disaster Declaration. Severe flood survivors are now eligible for federal disaster aid in Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.
Local, state and federal disaster recovery officials continue to urge anyone who was affected by severe flooding to register for disaster assistance from FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or to go online at disasterassistance.gov.
 
State of South Carolina agencies are currently offering several assistance measures for people who were directly affected by the disaster:
  • The S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control is offering free tetanus vaccination clinics for flood survivors. New clinic locations are being announced throughout the state via an updated list on www.scdhec.gov.
  • The S.C. Dept. of Insurance Director Ray Farmer issued an emergency order and regulation prohibiting insurance companies from canceling policies until Nov. 1. The emergency regulation prohibits insurers from canceling or not renewing policies solely because of claims resulting from this disaster. More information is available at doi.sc.gov.
  • The S.C. Dept. of Employment and Workforce is offering disaster unemployment assistance for people unemployed because of the severe flooding incident. Call 888-834-5890 if you have questions regarding eligibility.
  • South Carolina taxpayers affected by severe flooding may qualify for tax relief from the S.C. Dept. of Revenue. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that began Oct. 1. As a result, individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 16, 2016 to file these returns and pay taxes.
  • The S.C. Dept. of Commerce set up a disaster recovery information webpage for businesses. Visit: http://sccommerce.com/south-carolina-flood-resources.
  • People who wish to volunteer or donate to the severe flooding relief effort can visit scemd.org for a complete list of ways to give, or call 1-888-585-9643 to speak with a state donations manager.

When Waters Recede, Mold Can Take Hold
Be Safe, Don’t Stay in a Home Infested with Mold or Mildew

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tuesday, October 14, 2015, 3:30 p.m.)  – The thousands of individuals and families in South Carolina whose residences sustained water damage as a result of the October floods may now be confronting another threat to their homes and health -- mold. South Carolina Emergency Management Division stresses that no one stay in a mold-infested home. Mold can cause serious health problems as well as structural damage to a home when a property has experienced flooding.
Mold is a simple microscopic organism. When present in large quantities, mold can cause respiratory problems, burning or watery eyes, skin irritations or nervous system disorders such as headaches and memory loss.
When waters flood a home or business, it may cause mold to grow on walls and flooring within 24 to 48 hours, and will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the problem.

 
Dry out quickly
  • Drying out thoroughly may help prevent immediate and long-term health problems. Allow areas to dry two to three days before replacing damaged materials.
  • Open the windows to fresh air. The humidity level inside a home or business can be lowered with a fan or dehumidifier, unless the mold has already begun to grow. Fans can spread existing mold. Closets and cabinets should be aired by keeping their doors open. Special drying materials that absorb water also are useful in drying out closed areas.
  • Remove all water and fix any leaks before cleaning. If wiring is wet or moldy, an electrician needs to check the entire system before turning the power on again.
  • Porous materials such as paper, rags, wallboard and rotten wood can trap mold and should be thrown out. Harder materials such as glass, plastic and metal can be cleaned and disinfected.

Cleaning Tips
To remove moldy materials you will need:

  • Buckets and trash bags
  • Scrub brush, sponges, and rags
  • Gloves (latex, rubber) and a painter's or respirator mask
  • Broom, mop, and wet-dry shop vacuum
  • Non-ammonia soap or commercial cleaner (phenolic or pine-oil based)
  • Disinfectant, liquid chlorine bleach (1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water)
  • Wear a filter mask and gloves to avoid contact with the mold. Remove porous materials such as ceiling tiles, wallboard and wood products. If wallboard is flooded, measure and cut at least one foot above the high water mark and more if deemed necessary.
  • Carpeting can be a difficult problem, because drying does not remove the dead spores. If there is heavy mold, consider disposing of the carpet.
  • After thorough cleaning and rinsing, disinfect the area with a solution of household bleach and water, (1 cup of bleach per gallon of water). Never mix bleach with ammonia - the fumes are toxic.
  • Let disinfected areas dry naturally overnight to kill all the mold. For a large mold problem or if you are highly sensitive to mold, an experienced professional should do the work.
  • Housing assistance.

SCEMD and FEMA's first priority remains safe and sanitary housing for the survivors affected by the flooding. There is assistance available for those whose homes are unlivable. For more information on housing or other disaster assistance, register with FEMA one of three ways:

 
Beware of #SCFlood Disaster Scams 
State and federal recovery officials urge South Carolinians affected by the ongoing severe storms and floods to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud.

After a disaster, scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations or insurance company employees. Ask for identification and don’t be afraid to hang up on cold callers.

-When possible, contact government agencies using information posted on their websites or in other official sources.
-Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or contracts with blank spaces.
-Don’t give out credit card of bank information.
-FEMA does not have “approved” contractors; beware of contractors who say they are affiliated with FEMA.
 
For additional help, contact the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs’ ID Theft Unit for more tips on dealing with identify theft and scams at 800-922-1594 or www.consumer.sc.gov.
 
State Lowers Emergency Status, Recovery Operations Expand
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Monday, October 12, 2015, 10:55 p.m.) – The South Carolina Emergency Response Team is transitioning to the state’s emergency operational status to level 3. OPCON 3 is the third lowest of five operational conditions and allows state agencies to continue actively monitoring potential effects from the historic flooding, while supporting local governments and residents in ongoing recovery efforts. Now heading into the 13th day of 24-hour operations, the state Emergency Operations Center remains activated.
 
While the immediate emergency subsides, the S.C. Emergency Management Division along with state and federal partners increasingly focus on disaster recovery efforts. The American Red Cross reports 308 people are staying in 10 shelters tonight.
 
More than 200 roads and nearly 100 bridges remain closed as S.C. Department of Transportation teams continue with inspections and repairs. Earlier today SCDOT announced that I-95 southbound reopened to through traffic. Northbound I-95 traffic continues to be routed through Columbia from I-26 to I-20. For the latest information on state bridge and road closings go to scdot.org.
 
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is offering no-cost tetanus vaccinations for South Carolinians affected by flooding at state health department locations, with mobile clinics in Florence, Georgetown, Lexington, Richland and Williamsburg counties. For a complete list of vaccination clinics and information on scheduling an appointment go to scdhec.gov.
 
Nineteen counties received a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance to include direct financial help for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the flooding. People with flood losses should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov  or call 800-621-3362.
 
FEMA and the State of South Carolina have established Disaster Recovery Centers in several counties, with plans to open several more throughout the state. Survivors who have been affected by the flood can visit the nearest DRC in their area to register for disaster assistance, ask questions about an open application and meet with multiple agencies offering aid. For a complete list of DRCs and more resources for flood survivors go to scemd.org.
 
 
 
Health and Safety Important in Clean-up 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (October 10, 2015, 4:40 p.m.) -- As people start cleaning up the mess left behind by severe flooding, they need to take added steps to protect their own health and safety.

Assume everything touched by flood water is contaminated and will have to be disinfected.  Most clean-up can be done with household cleaning products, but always read and follow label directions.  Remember to frequently wash your hands during the clean-up and wear sturdy shoes to prevent falls on the slippery silt and mud left behind.

If there has been a backflow of sewage into the house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup.  Remove and discard contaminated household materials that cannot be disinfected, such as wallcoverings, cloth, rugs and drywall.

Walls, hard-surface floors and many other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.  Be particularly careful to thoroughly disinfect surfaces that may come in contact with food, such as counter tops, pantry shelves, refrigerators, etc.  Areas where small children play should also be carefully cleaned.

Wash all linens and clothing in hot water, or dry clean them.  For items that cannot be washed, such as mattresses and upholstered furniture, air dry them in the sun and then spray them thoroughly with a disinfectant.  Steam clean all carpeting.
 
In addition:
  • Always wear waterproof gloves when working with cleaning solutions.
  • Apply cleaner and give it time to work before you mop or sponge it up.
  • After cleaning a room or item, go over it again with disinfectant to kill germs and odor left by flood water.
  • Tackle one room at a time.  A two-bucket method is most effective: one bucket for the cleaning solution and a second for the rinse water.
  • Rinse out sponge, mop or cleaning cloth in the rinse bucket.
  • Replace rinse water frequently.
  • Clean with non-sudsing household cleaners or laundry detergent.
  • Disinfect using household disinfectants, such as pine oil or 1/4 cup (two ounces) of liquid chlorine bleach mixed in 1 gallon of water.
  • Remove mildew with household mildew cleaner or washing soda or trisodium phosphate (five tablespoons per gallon of water) or 1/4 cup (two ounces) of laundry bleach in one gallon of water.
     
Cleaning Supplies Check List: 
  • Brooms, mops, brushes, sponges     
  • Buckets, hose
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rags
  • Cleaning solutions       
  • Disinfectants
  • Lubricating oil
  • Trash bags
  • Hair dryer
     
For more information on cleaning up following a flood, contact your local Emergency Management office, health department or American Red Cross chapter.  On the internet: www.redcross.org or www.FEMA.GOV.
 
Here are some other health and safety tips from the South Carolina Emergency Management:
  • Conserve water if your septic system has flooded.
  • To prevent mosquitoes, empty items that hold water such as birdbaths, old tires, flower pots and buckets; put screens over rain barrels.
  • If the pilot light on your natural gas furnace, hot-water heater or stove goes out, have it relit by a professional service representative.

 

 

DHEC Offers Free Tetanus Vaccinations for Flood-Affected South Carolinians
COLUMBIA, SC (October 9, 2015, 9:00 p.m.) – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reminds all storm-affected residents that a tetanus vaccination is recommended if it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus vaccination or you have experienced an injury and your shot is more than five years old.

 

In the event of a puncture wound or wound contaminated by floodwater, individuals should consult a healthcare provider.
For those who require a tetanus vaccination, there will be no-cost Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination clinics this weekend.

 
Two mobile clinics will be held Saturday:
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at A.C. Flora High School, 1 Falcon Drive, Columbia
  • 3 to 5 p.m. at Pine Glen Subdivision, Seawright Road, Columbia
     
Clinics will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the following locations:
  • Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center, 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins
  • Irmo Branch Library, 6251 Saint Andrews Road, Columbia
DHEC will also offer no cost tetanus vaccinations at health departments beginning Monday, Oct. 12. To make an appointment for a tetanus vaccination at a health department near you, call 1-800-868-0404.
 
DHEC will continue to announce vaccination clinics at www.scdhec.gov as times and locations become available.
 

Calhoun County Health Department Closed

Columbia, S.C. (Monday, October 5, 2015, 5:40 p.m.) – The Calhoun County Health Department is closed due to flood damage caused by severe weather the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today.
 
The facility will be closed until repairs can be made. DHEC is currently working with the county to provide alternative locations in the community. In the interim, clients are directed to call 800-868-0404 to make appointments at the nearby Orangeburg County area health departments. Please see below for office locations and phone numbers.
 
Main Office
1550 Carolina Avenue, Orangeburg, SC 29115
(803) 533-5480

 
Holly Hill
8423A Old State Road, Holly Hill, SC 29059
(803) 496-3324

 
 
WATER AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS WITHOUT SERVICE
 
The following is the list of points of water distribution (POD) for Richland County and the City of Columbia, S.C. The PODs will be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today, October 5, 2015, and 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until the drinking water emergency is over:
 
 
1101 Lincoln St. (Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center)
 
5420 Forrest Drive (Walmart parking lot)
 
2615 Lower Richland Boulevard (Lower Richland High School)
 
Corner of Landmark Drive and Forrest Drive (Forrest acres-parking lot)
 

 

PET-FRIENDLY SHELTERS FOR DISPLACED RESIDENTS

There are two emergency shelters for people with pets who have been displaced by floodwaters. If you and your pets need shelter, please go to:
 
In Richland County: Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Irmo
 
In Lexington County: 108 Park Road, Lexington
 
Lower Richland High School, 2615 Lower Richland Blvd, Hopkins, S.C.
 
St. Andrews Middle School, 1231 Bluefield Dr., Columbia, S.C. 29210
 
 
*Please make sure your pet is vaccinated and preferrably in crates.
 
 
 
Statewide Response Continuing As Flooding Persists
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Sunday, October 4, 2015, 9:00 p.m.) – Significant rainfall across South Carolina throughout the weekend has resulted in numerous road closures and delays caused by fast–moving floodwaters. The South Carolina Emergency Operations Center is fully activated at Operating Condition 1 by state agencies of the State Emergency Response Team for the duration of the incident.

 
As of 8:00 p.m. Sunday, October 4, 2015:
  • Fifteen counties remain fully activated at Operating Condition One.
  • Ten counties or municipalities have declared States of Emergency.
  • Eight counties or municipalities have imposed overnight curfews.
  • Five weather-related deaths have been reported. Three were reported by the S.C. Highway Patrol, two from Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Numerous roads have been closed due to flooding conditions.
  • The S.C. Highway Patrol has 255 troopers on duty with others on standby.
  • The S.C. Law Enforcement Division has 320 agents on active or standby duty.
  • Some 30,000 sandbags have been used by the S.C. Department of Transportation and local public safety agencies.
  • S.C. Highway Patrol reports Interstate 95 between I-20 in Florence County and I-26 in Orangeburg County has been closed. Interstate traffic in that affected area is being rerouted.
  • S.C. Highway Patrol reports that today from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. there were reports of 315 collisions, 239 calls for assistance, 273 reports of trees on the road and 318 reports of roadway flooding
  • Eight swift water rescue teams are operating with more teams arriving from other states.
  • School districts in 19 counties are closed or operating on a delayed schedule Monday.
  • The S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control warns of the dangers associated with rising floodwaters, including drowning, bacterial and viral infection from sewage overflows.
  • Public Information Phone System continues to handle inquiries from the public. The number to call is 1-866-246-0133.
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move. Monitor local media and trusted websites for updated conditions, advisories and instructions.
  • If you have to leave your home, prepare your home for floodwater by moving essential items to an upper floor or shelves, disconnect electrical appliances and turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. Do not drive around barricades posted at or near flooded streets. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away. One foot of water can cause your car to float off the roadway.
  • Be aware of electricity issues. Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises --get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
 
CAUTION URGED AROUND LOCAL DAMS
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (October 4, 2015, 5:35 p.m.) – The S.C. Emergency Response Team continues to caution residents of potential dangers of rising waters, including those associated with neighborhood dams and flooding. The Department of Health and Environmental Control has been contacted by dam operators and made aware of several dams across the state that have overtopped, and some that have failed.
 
“If you live below a small, neighborhood dam, please be vigilant of its status,” said DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs Elizabeth Dieck. “We would strongly encourage you to pay attention to local news reports that can contain important information about the status of your
dam. Be prepared to take appropriate actions you feel are necessary for your safety or as directed by your local emergency officials.”
 
Avoid floodwater at all costs. Do not walk through floodwater and do not play in it. Rising water from flooding can carry viruses, bacteria, chemicals and other submerged objects picked up as it moves through storm water systems, across industrial sites, yards, roads and parking lots. These threats can cause serious illness, injury and drowning, and should be avoided. Flooding can also create situations in which animals, reptiles and insects can be more likely to come in contact with humans, resulting in bites and stings.
 
If you receive your drinking water from a private well and have experienced flooding, take precautions to boil your water before drinking.
 
If you are on the City of Columbia water system, you should boil your water before drinking. For other water systems, you will be told if you need to boil your water.  If you haven't heard and want to be sure, contact them directly, or boil your water as a safety precaution.
Residents with questions about the statewide ongoing flooding incident can call the SCEMD 24-hour public information line at 1-866-246-0133.
 
Statewide Flooding Incident Update
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, October 3, 2015, 8:30 p.m.) – Significant rainfall has continued across South Carolina throughout the day and forecasters expect severe weather conditions for the next several days. The South Carolina Emergency Operations Center is fully activated at Operating Condition 1 by state agencies of the State Emergency Response Team for the duration of the incident.
 
As of 9:00 p.m. Saturday, October 3, 2015:
  • Dorchester County declared a state of emergency. A 6 p.m. curfew has been imposed in St. George, Ridgeville, Harleyville and Reedsville.
  • A state of emergency has been declared for Edisto Beach. The seawall at Edisto Beach has breached, resulting in heavy flooding.
  • S.C. Highway Patrol reports three weather-related traffic fatalities.
  • S.C. Highway Patrol has responded to 439 traffic collisions on the state’s roadways, assisted 170 motorists, 118 trees on roadways, and 104 reports of flooded roads.
  • Federal emergency declaration announced, which activates federal resources to support the state and local emergency response efforts.
  • Shelters have been opened in Anderson, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Spartanburg counties. Other shelters in Anderson, Colleton and Spartanburg counties are on stand-by if needed.
  • The North Charleston Sewer District has reported they are experiencing sanitary sewer overflows due to the wide spread flooding conditions. The overflows are expected to continue throughout the flood event this weekend.
  • The S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control warns of the dangers associated with rising floodwaters, including drowning, bacterial and viral infection.
  • The South Carolina National Guard and the state Department of Transportation continue working to fill and deliver sandbags to SCDOT districts for local public safety agencies’ use. Resource requests for bags being processed.
  • County emergency managers report multiple road closures and trees down throughout the state, particularly in coastal areas. Visit www.scdot.org for real-time road conditions.
  • The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff reports a total 2,992 power outages statewide.
     
Public Information Phone System has been activated for inquiries from the public. The number to call is 1-866-246-0133.

 

State now at OPCON 1,
President issues Emergency Declaration for South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, October 3, 6:25 p.m.) – The S.C. Emergency Management Division and partner state agencies have increased the state’s operating condition to level one. OPCON 1 is the highest of the five operational classifications and indicates that a disaster or emergency situation is in effect and full emergency operations are ongoing.

The State Emergency Operations Center is fully activated and operating on a 24-hour schedule.
 
President Obama has declared a federal emergency in South Carolina, which activates federal resources to support the state and local efforts to protect the public during the storm and recovery. The direct federal assistance will be available to public safety agencies in all 46 counties and the Catawba Nation.
 
The state’s Public Information Phone System (PIPS) is operating around the clock to answer citizens’ questions about flooding and other emergency information. The number is toll-free at 1-866-246-0133.
 
 
DHEC warning concerning floodwater dangers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, October 3, 2015, 4:30 p.m.) – South Carolinas are cautioned about wading or playing in floodwaters resulting from the heavy rainfall in the state.

“We strongly warn residents to stay away from floodwaters and, to reduce the risk of infections and traumatic injuries including drowning, don’t swim, play or boat in the water,” said Jamie Blair, deputy director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness. “Water from flooding can carry viruses, bacteria, chemicals and other physical items picked up as it moves through storm water systems, across industrial sites, yards, roads and parking lots. These threats can cause serious illness and injury and should be avoided if at all possible.”
 
Blair offered specific tips for preventing illness and injury resulting from flooding, including:
  • Prevent children from playing in flooded areas. Rapidly rushing floodwaters pose a high risk for drowning.
  • Keep children from playing with toys that have been contaminated by floodwater until the toys can be cleaned/disinfected.
  • Wash children's hands frequently and always before meals.
  • Take care to protect open wounds from floodwaters.

Blair says flooding can also create situations in which animals, reptiles and insects can be more likely to come in contact with humans, resulting in bites and stings. If you have a reason that you must enter the floodwaters, be alert and try to avoid coming into contact.

 

Flash Flood Warnings Continue Statewide

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, October 3, 2015, 9:20 a.m.) – Significant rainfall has continued across South Carolina throughout the night and forecasters expect severe weather conditions for the next several days. The South Carolina Emergency Operations Center is fully activated at Operating Condition 3 by state agencies of the State Emergency Response Team for the duration of the incident.
As of 9:20 a.m. Saturday, October 3, 2015:
  • There are currently 34 warnings and advisories in effect for South Carolina, including flash flood warnings for seven counties and flood warnings for 14 counties issued by the National Weather Service.
  • Horry County reports at least 100 homes have been affected by flooding. Two people stayed in an American Red Cross shelter overnight. In Georgetown County, at least 15 people have been evacuated due to flooding.
  • The South Carolina National Guard, the S.C. Dept. of Corrections and the state Department of Transportation are working to fill and deliver sandbags for SCDOT districts only at this time.
  • County emergency managers report multiple road closures and trees down throughout the state, particularly in coastal areas. Visit www.scdot.org for real-time road conditions.
  • The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff reports a total 8,800 power outages statewide.
     
State Upgrades to OPCON 3,
Preparations Continue for Severe Flooding
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Friday, October 2, 2015, 11:50 a.m.) – At 12:00 p.m., the Division will increase the state’s operational condition to Level 3. OpCon3 means a disaster or emergency situation is likely in our state and that state agencies have been notified to staff positions at the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia. The SEOC is currently operating on a 24-hour schedule for the duration of the incident.
 
Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict a record amount of rainfall throughout much of South Carolina, creating the conditions for flash flooding. People in potentially vulnerable areas should review their plans. Residents and visitors in the state should monitor the storm via local news media and through trusted, official, sources online.
 
“We have already had one death associated with flooding in the Upstate,” SCEMD Director Kim Stenson said, “The heaviest rainfall is still to come. All South Carolinians need to be prepared and ready `to act upon official instructions from preparedness officials.”
 
When Flooding Occurs in Your Area
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away. One foot of water can cause your car to float off the roadway.
  • Be aware of electricity issues. Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises --get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.

 

South Carolina Governor Declares State of Emergency

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Thursday, October 1, 2015, 5:30 p.m.) – Governor Nikki Haley has declared a State of Emergency in advance of any potential impacts from Hurricane Joaquin and flooding from a separate weather system. The Governor’s State of Emergency declaration puts state emergency plans into effect, enabling agencies to better coordinate resources jointly and respond to requests for state assistance from county emergency managers.
 
Hurricane Joaquin is currently a category four hurricane with an uncertain track. The storm could bring dangerous rip currents, higher tides and additional rain to the coastal areas already experiencing flood conditions. Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict that heavy rain from a separate weather system will create flash flood conditions throughout the entire state.
 
Everyone in South Carolina is urged to continue to monitor the developing forecasts through news media and through trusted sources online. Pay attention to emergency warnings from local and state public safety officials and take safety actions if instructed to do so.
 
 
 
State now at OPCON 4,
Prepares for Heavy Rain, Flooding and Hurricane Joaquin
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Thursday, October 1, 2015, 12:20 p.m.) – The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and partner state agencies have upgraded the state’s operational condition to level four. OPCON 4 is the second lowest of five operational conditions and enables state agencies to make preparations for any potential effects from Hurricane Joaquin and predicted heavy rainfall from a separate weather system.
 
People in potentially vulnerable areas should review their plans and consider actions they would need to take if the storm threatens South Carolina. Residents and visitors in the state should monitor the storm via local news media and through updates from the National Hurricane Center, especially people in low-lying areas throughout the state.

“Even if Hurricane Joaquin heads out to sea, the entire state could experience significant flooding from heavy rains that are predicted,” SCEMD Director Kim Stenson said, “We’ve already seen flooding in many parts of South Carolina, these storm systems could make conditions worse.”
 
When Flooding Occurs in Your Area:
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away. One foot of water can cause your car to float off the roadway.
Given the uncertainty of Hurricane Joaquin’s project path, SCEMD recommends the following:
  • Monitor storm conditions via local media, the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service offices that serve South Carolina. Follow @SCEMD social media feeds for emergency information.
  • Understand the difference between a Watch and a Warning.  A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical-storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.  Stay tuned for additional advisories.  A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical-storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.  If you are advised to take safety precautions, do so immediately.
  • Know Your Zone and review emergency plans:  Residents living in vulnerable areas that might be in a tropical storm’s path must make plans now should an evacuation later become necessary.  Become familiar with evacuation routes, which are marked with special signs.
  • Visit scemd.org/knowyourzone to determine what coastal evacuation zone you are in.
  • Keep supplies in vehicles, top off fuel, secure important documents:  If the storm approaches South Carolina, individuals and families should fill up their cars with gas.  Road maps, nonperishable snack foods, a first-aid kit that includes a supply of your family’s prescription medications, and convenience items such as diapers should be available in the car.  Secure important documents in waterproof packaging.
  • Consider the safety of pets:  Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters.  You should plan to board pets with veterinarians, kennels, or other facilities in non-vulnerable areas.  Identification and rabies tags should be attached to the pets’ collars.
 
Hurricane Joaquin
 
SCEMD Monitors Hurricane Joaquin, Urges Everyone to Review Plans
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 5:00 p.m.) -   The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is paying close attention to Hurricane Joaquin, and as a result of the storm’s projected movement, key agencies in South Carolina government have been notified to be ready to respond if the need arises.
 
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the forecasts from the National Hurricane Center. We are preparing for the possibility that this storm could affect South Carolina, we’re asking residents to do the same,” SCEMD Director Kim Stenson said. 
 
People in potentially vulnerable areas should review their plans and consider actions they would need to take if the storm threatens the state:
  • Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
  • Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
  • Know evacuation routes for your area. Pay attention to emergency warnings and evacuate if instructed to do so. Visit www.scemd.org/KnowYourZone  for more information.
  • Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
  • Follow trusted and verified social media feeds for information, including @SCEMD, @NHC
A copy of the 2015 S.C. Hurricane Guide is available at all state welcome centers along South Carolina interstates, Walgreen’s stores and for download here on SCEMD’s .
 
2015 S.C. Hurricane Guide
 
 
SCEMD Home Page

 

Stay Connected

Connect to all @SCEMD Social Media

SCEMD on Facebook  @SCEMD on Twitter  SCEMD on YouTube  SCEMD on Instagram

Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts