The forecast of good weather this coming week is giving authorities a sigh of relief as they continue with clean-up from Hurricane Matthew.
One of the big concerns now is the water levels on a couple of South Carolina rivers. "The Waccamaw River is at 14 feet now. We do expect it to go to 16.7 feet by the end of this week. That is above what we had for flood levels last year," said Governor Nikki Haley at her 10 a.m. press conference on Sunday morning. The high levels will affect homes and roads. The other river of concern is Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry.
Berkeley, Colleton, Charleston, and Dorchester counties have lifted evacuations. "It's meant to be teamwork," said Haley of lifting evacuations. The final decisions for lifting those evacutations are left up to county and local officals. Beaufort county still has a lot of flooding and debris. Information will be released when the evacuation order is lifted. Jasper, Georgetown, and Horry counties are just now starting there assessments. "They have asked for time and patience. The evacuations in those areas may be lifted tomorrow," said Haley.
Law enforcement has 709 people along the roads. They have responded to 2,957 calls since October 5 and 1,122 were vehicle-related. There was one weather-related death due to Hurricane Matthew in Florence county. The vehicle was swept away by flood waters when trying to pass. Haley urged everyone to please take caution when re-entering your area.
Haley advised all South Carolinians to not drive through barricades. Emergency lanes also need to stay clear. "Patience, patience, patience," Haley said as people are trying to get back home. Officials are keeping an eye on congestion on area interstates and highways leading back to the coast. Live patrols will be there to help.
"All of our interstates are open in South Carolina," said Secretary Christy Hall with South Carolina Department of Transportation. SCDOT is working to get all primary roads up to service as quickly as possible. National Guard, law enforcement, and fire fighters are working to get debris off roadways. Hall also mentioned there will be debris on the shoulder of the roads, to expect that, and drive safely. Some signals may be out because of power outages. She urged everyone to use caution and to be patient.
Twenty-eight hundred National Guard members are supporting local officals. There have been five high-water rescues.
Although Hurricane Matthew has moved away from South Carolina’s coast, hazardous conditions still exist in many parts of coastal and inland counties:
- Avoid flood waters or standing water. Do not use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water, or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines, or other hazardous debris that may be under the surface.
- Do not use generators indoors. Running generators in homes, garages, or other closed areas can lead to increased levels of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal and may cause death.
- Be sure tap water is safe to consume. Watch for boil water advisories on your local news or call your water utility. Use only bottled or stored water until it is determined that the water is safe to drink. If water is not safe to drink, boil water vigorously for at least one minute and then cool before use.
The S.C. Emergency Management Division’s website, http://scemd.org, lists emergency shelter status statewide and is updated in real-time by the S.C. Department of Social Services. Coastal evacuees without Internet access are urged to call the PIPS line at 1-866-246-0133 with questions and needed assistance.
For more information visit http://www.scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.