Souther Carolina Flood: Death Toll Rises to 9 in Unrelenting Storm

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says recovery efforts are underway, but dangers remain from the state’s historic flooding.


In Forest Acres, S.C., northeast of Columbia, police on Monday afternoon said the Overcreek Bridge dam had been breached, The State reported. Lt. Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said police were conducting mandatory evacuations downstream from the dam. “We are now worried about the Forest Lake dam breaking,” said State Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, who was directing traffic nearby Monday afternoon.

Hundreds of rescues statewide included a mother and her 15-month-old daughter, plucked from the roof of their flooded home Sunday by a Coast Guard helicopter in Huger, about 25 miles north of Charleston. The duo was evacuated to safety. Alex Holmes, 24, was among the fatalities. Her sister, Amanda Holmes Mitchell said her sister’s SUV was swept away by floodwaters Sunday. She called a friend that morning to say she was stuck in the car with a dead battery, unable to open the window. Rescuers said the car filled with water and Holmes drowned. “She was a beautiful person,” her sister said. “You couldn’t help but love her. She was a great daughter, a great aunt, a great sister.” In Columbia, Mayor Steve Benjamin said thousand of homes were without running water, and that a boil alert remained in effect for thousands more.

“I believe things will get worse before they get better,” a somber Benjamin said Monday. “Eventually the floods will abate, but …  I anticipate that damage will be in the billions of dollars. Some people’s lives will never be the same.” Steve Bowen, a meteorologist with the global insurance firm Aon Benfield, said economic losses to the state should “easily surpass $1 billion given the enormity of the damage.” “The cost to infrastructure alone could be that much,” Bowen said in an e-mail. “Much of the damage will not be covered by insurance since only a small percentage of homeowners in South Carolina are current National Flood Insurance Program policyholders.” Gov. Haley has said this type of rain event can be expected once in 1,000 years.

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The interior of a flooded car is seen in Columbia, S.C. Mladen Antonov, AFP/Getty Images
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Residents evacuated from their homes wait at a temporary shelter at St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia, S.C. Mladen Antonov, AFP/Getty Images
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Jerry Hardy and wife his Tracey evacuate their family from floodwaters on Waccamaw Drive near Conway, S.C. As the showers tapered off, the governor warned communities downstream, near the low-lying coast, that they may still see rising water and to be prepared for more evacuations. Jason Lee, The Sun News via AP
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Joe Ziegler, left, Steven Harmer, Alex Sanders, and Alex Scroggins help family and neighbors move a couch from flooding homes on the Waccamaw River near Conway, S.C. Jason Lee, The Sun News via AP
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Will Brennan, Matt Talley and Tyler Bahnmuller take a canoe to investigate their homes in Columbia, S.C. Sean Rayford, Getty Images

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