Record-setting rain slams South Carolina
The deadly, record-smashing rainfall that soaked South Carolina may have finally passed, but the threat was far from over early Tuesday.
Much of the state was still underwater, with more than 20 rivers flooded and 10 dams breached. Gov. Nikki Haley warned residents late Monday “to be cautious and stay home.”
Despite only a smattering of rain still falling on Myrtle Beach and the North Carolina coast at 3:30 a.m. ET, forecasters warned some areas could still see rising water levels as the flooding flowed down to the coast.
“Anywhere from mid-state down toward the coast may well see rising waters throughout the week,” Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth said. “This will take until at least Friday, if not the weekend.”
At least 13 people have been killed — 11 in South Carolina and 2 in North Carolina — in what experts have deemed a “1,000-year flood event,” meaning in any given year there is a 1-in-1,000 chance of that much rain.
Countless weather records have been broken, including the South Carolina’s rainiest day on record.
Six rivers were in a state of major flood early Tuesday, with seven in moderate flood and eight in minor flood, according to the National Weather Service. Charleston and other parts of coastal South and North Carolina were still under flooding warnings as of 3:30 a.m. ET.
At least 18 dams had been breached across South Carolina, according to the state’s Emergency Management Division.
Roth said the main danger posed by the lingering water was to people who tried to drive through flooded roads in their cars.
“That’s the number one danger at this point,” he said. “If the journey is essential, people should take it while the sun is up, so they can at least have a better idea of what they’re driving into.”
President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration Monday night, ordering federal aid to help recovery efforts.
By Monday evening, 365 state-maintained roads and 166 bridges were closed, while 40,000 people were without running water and more than 26,000 were without electricity.
Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said there had been too many rescues to keep count.
Shamar Walters contributed. Read more at NBCNews.com.