Governor Nikki Haley addressed the press from the Emergency Management Division (EMD) Monday afternoon, Oct. 10.
Due to flooding from the rivers, Governor Haley changed the fly-over originally scheduled for Beaufort to a flight over Florence and Marion counties. There has been significant damage in these areas, and the governor said most first floors are gone, and many homes and cars were also lost.
The town of Nichols was greatly devastated. One hundred and fifty people were in the Town Hall on the third floor waiting for rescue and evacuation. Law enforcement, the National Guard and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been working together to complete rescues and will continue to do so. There were 150 rescued in Nichols, and another 12 in the Little Pee Dee River.
Governor Haley said there are “blessings,” as the state can expect seven days of cool and dry weather following the flood, as emergency teams continue recovery efforts.
Evacuation orders have been lifted in all counties. Governor Haley re-emphasized that evacuation orders are lifted when the local emergency management division and local officials decide that it is safe to do so. The state provides law enforcement and National Guardsmen and other resources, to clear trees and debris and make roadways safe for passage back into evacuated areas. DNR aids in water rescues, and utility linemen, traffic control, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) work to keep roadways safe and moving efficiently in these situations.
“Now we’re in support mode for our counties,” said Governor Haley. “So that’s the goal. They keep giving us a list of what they need, and we keep sending people out as needed.”
There was a request to the President today for an expedited major disaster declaration for thirteen counties. This number may go up in the coming days. This declaration will allow for major debris clean-up and also security.
Hilton Head Island, Fripp Island, Hunting Island and Harbor Island remain closed and there is still no access to those islands. Should residents travel to those islands, they will not be allowed in.
DNR and National Guardsmen are now working together in river patrols to evacuate those who have been caught in floodwaters, particularly in the Little Pee Dee, the Lumber and the Waccamaw rivers. The Black River is also being monitored. There will be aerial assets monitoring areas that remain closed to ensure no looting or illegal activity happens to homes and businesses until residents can return. Chief Keel and Director Taylor asked that “sight seers,” and individuals riding boats along affected areas to view flooding, can put themselves at risk and undermine safety and security measures currently be exercised, and can even cause damage.
Since the beginning of this weather event, there have been three reported fatalities, one in Columbia and two in Florence. Of 3,673 emergency calls received, 1,454 calls were related to traffic collisions. Due to power outages, traffic in the tri-county area is a bit heavy, however, highway patrolmen and other law enforcement officials are working to direct traffic in areas without power. Interstate 26 appears to have cleared up as of yesterday evening. There are 709 troopers on the ground. Governor Haley reminded those on the road not to drive around posted barricades, and not to drive on flooded roads. Some roads that are clear today may be flooded in the coming days.
Secretary Christy Hall of the South Carolina Department of Transportation said there are 361 roads and 29 bridges currently closed, with 1,400 highway workers working to clear those roads. Primary road closures are due to flooding and fallen power lines. Most of the closures on secondary roads are due to flooding and fallen trees. Harbor Island, Hunting Island and Fripp Island are inaccessible because of repairs underway for the Harbor River Bridge in Beaufort County. Hilton Head's roads and bridges are currently being assessed, as well. Beaufort County has established a public information hotline at 1-800-963-5023 and the Beaufort County Sherriff's office has created an emergency alert system that you can sign up for, at www.bcso.net.
Forty-two shelters remain open, housing 2,184 residents at this time, with two pet-friendly shelters, one in Summerville and one in Spartanburg. Efforts are currently underway to consolidate school locations, so all schools can reopen.
There are still 18,080 residents under boil water advisories. Private wells may become an issue, as they were during the flood. A private well advisory hotline is available at 1-803-898-4312.
Plans were made over the weekend to inspect 250 dams; as of this morning, 161 of those inspections had been completed. Seven have failed, four are regulated and three are unregulated. The failed dams were Little Pee Dee State Park dam, Flowers Pond dam in Dillon County, Lakewood Pond dam in Clarendon County and Graham Pond in Horry County. The unregulated failed dams are: Andrew Mills Road dam in Darlington County, Bay Water Drive dam in Lexington County, and Hardee Lake dam in Dillon County. Two dams are at-risk, with crews on site: Baxley Farm Pond dam in Marion County and Lake Oakdale in Florence County. The dam advisory hotline is also: 1-803-898-4312. Visit DHEC's website for more dam updates and information.
There are 473,567 residents without power, down from 861,000 without power 24 hours ago. There are 8,000 linemen currently on the road assisting to return power to residents.
For assistance in debris removal, call 1-800-451-1954. Governor Haley reminded residents not to place generators in garages and to avoid barricades.
Monetary donations to assist those affected by the hurricane can be made to the OneSC foundation, which was established after last year’s flood. Nonprofits aiding hurricane victims can also be helped through donations to this fund.