South Carolina hit by torrential rainfall, hundreds rescued

A risky rainstorm drenching the East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina – cutting power to thousands, forcing dozens of water rescues around the capital city and closing “too many roads to name” because of floodwaters.

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The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is deploying Public Information Officer Brett Carr to Columbia, South Carolina to support response and recovery efforts to ongoing heavy rain and flooding.

Biblical amounts of rain continued to pour down onto the Palmetto State Sunday, sending rivers and creeks rising to record levels while smashing longstanding precipitation markers.

A woman walks down a flooded sidewalk toward an open convenience store in Charleston, S.C., Sunday, October 4, 2015. A 75-mile stretch of Interstate 95, a key route between Washington D.C. and Florida is also closed.

This slow-moving trough is associated with a strong area of low pressure in the upper layers of the atmosphere, and this feature is playing a crucial role in enhancing the rainfall by encouraging air above the Carolinas to rise, cool and condense. “We can’t just move the water out”, Gov. Nikki Haley said at a news conference.

Later on Sunday morning, weather officials said the warning would remain in effect until at least the early afternoon.

Television news footage showed neighborhoods elsewhere in the state with water near the roofs of cars. Meanwhile, almost 30,000 customers were without power at one point.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for Charleston overnight on Saturday into early Sunday morning, which is the most severe flash flood designation.

On Sunday, the US Coast Guard said it had spotted floating debris, including life jackets, in the search area off the south-eastern Bahamas.

“We are used to flooding in the area but this is extraordinary”, said police sergeant Edwin Graceley.

The weather service forecast “catastrophic flash flooding” overnight into Monday in Berkeley County – where more than 18 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, according to CNN Weather Center – and in Charleston County. For example, Gills Creek in downtown Columbia exceeds 17 feet – more than 10 feet higher than flood stage – causing heavy flooding.

Gorrin’s aunt is heading with him to his house, where it has not flooded, but the drive home was tricky. He said his aunt, Wanda Laboy, waited several hours after calling 911, so family came to help.

“She’s very distressed right now”, said Gorrin, 38.

A few areas of Georgia have received over 5 inches of rain, but in Columbus and surrounding areas 24-hour rain accumulation is well below 1 inch.

“I’ve lived here for 15 years I’ve never seen it this bad”, Kathryn Willoughby, a resident said, said.

“This was a record storm“, he said.

“We’re endorsing and even recommending that individuals get house, but also be in a position to work on…”

Five people in the Carolinas have died in weather-related incidents.

The fire department lost contact for about 40 minutes with a firefighter performing rescues, but Jenkins says he was found and is safe.

The University of South Carolina, based in Columbia, canceled all Monday classes.

“I’ve been rushing around, making sure I have everything I need”, said the 65-year-old Gainey.

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“We didn’t want to take the chance”, Merroli said. “It’s unusual leaving everything behind”. The University of South Carolina is encouraging students, faculty, staff and visitors to stay at home and stay inside for the remainder of the day. He stresses that “this is not a time for anybody to be a spectator”.

Dangerous East Coast storm brings misery to South Carolina