SC News

News from and about the Palmetto State.

Residents should be aware of potential dangers from Hurricane Matthew as county emergency managers have reported downed power lines, fallen trees, and flooded and washed out roads in the Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina.

As hazardous conditions may delay response time for those in need of help, the S.C. Emergency Management Division recommends the following precautions to be taken in an effort to mitigate risk for citizens and first responders.

Governor Nikki Haley and her team, Saturday morning.
SCETV

    Governor Haley says Hurricane Matthew is still a deadly storm packing sustained winds of 75 mph. She adds no one should yet try to return home until the state gives their go-ahead. Flash flood warnings are still in effect all over the state. Haley also warns of a cyber threat: residents are getting e-mails with supposed power outage updates that, when clicked on, actually cause malware to be installed.

 

Governor Haley will hold another press conference at 6 p.m. today.

Satellite image from the NOAA Geostationary Satellite Survey, Wednesday afternoon, Oct 5. 2016.
NOAA/NWS

Track Hurricane Matthew and see its projected path, mapped with data from the National Hurricane Center.

John Keefe, Louise Ma and Steve Melendez / WNYC Data News Team. Follow us @datanews, email us here.

Interactive Evacuation Map for Hurricane Matthew

Oct 7, 2016

This interactive map from the South Carolina Department of Transportation will give you the latest information on routes and lane reversals.

Linda O'Bryon / SC Public Radio

Friday morning Governor Nikki Haley said it will soon be too late to evacuate.  During the 11 AM press conference, the Governor said 310,000 residents had already evacuated the coast. That was up from 280,000 yesterday.  She adds anyone who hasn't or can't move inland should find a shelter to wait out the storm.

Alexandra Olgin
Cathy Bradberry

Officials say now is your last chance to evacuate. Once the rain and wind gets bad they warn it won’t be safe to drive. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says authorities went to low lying areas that are prone to flooding and knocked on doors to encourage people to leave.

“We are going back today to again. We will have our city buses there to transport if they need it. You flood under a major rain we don’t know exactly how high your waters are going to get. But you need to be safe. We will get you back to your homes as quickly as possible.”

Helpline for Shelter Locations: 866-246-0133

Oct 7, 2016

Evacuees seeking refuge from Hurricane Matthew should call 1-866-246-0133 to be directed to the nearest open emergency shelter anywhere in the state. The state’s public information phone system is operational 24 hours a day until South Carolina is no longer in danger.

The S.C. Emergency Management Division website, scemd.org, lists emergency shelter status statewide and is updated in real-time by the S.C. Department of Social Services.

Coastal evacuees currently traveling or without internet access are urged to call the PIPS line if they need assistance.

S.C. PUBLIC INFORMATION PHONE SYSTEM

1-866-246-0133

For more information visit scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.

Gov. Niki Haley and response team, Thu, Oct 6, 2016.
Russ McKinney / SC Public Radio

Gov. Nikki Haley Announces Evacuation Of Additional Areas In Jasper and Colleton Counties, Zone B

Residents and visitors in Zone B of Jasper and Colleton Counties should begin evacuating effective immediately TODAY, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6.  This evacuation is in addition to the previous evacuation for the areas of Jasper and Colleton Counties in Zone A, which went into effect yesterday, October 5.

Gov. Haley: 175 Thousand Evacuated. That is Not Enough

Oct 6, 2016
Gov. Niki Haley and response team, Thu, Oct 6, 2016.
Russ McKinney / SC Public Radio

  Governor Adds Horry and Georgetown Counties to Evacuation Orders

Thursday morning, Gov. Haley said not enough coastal residents have evacuated ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Officials were expecting 250,000 people to move away from the cost, but with only 175,000 people gone, more residents need to leave, she said.

All South Carolina shellfish beds will be closed at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7, 2016 in advance of Hurricane Matthew. This precautionary action is being taken because of the likelihood of the occurrence of heavy rainfall and storm water runoff as a result of the storm.

“All oyster, clam and mussel harvest areas will be closed on Friday at noon and remain closed until evaluated and re-opened by the Department,” said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Program. “Individual areas will be opened as soon as conditions are acceptable for the harvest of shellfish.”

Owners and operators of reservoirs in areas potentially impacted by rain and winds from Hurricane Matthew should check their dams and take appropriate steps to safely lower the water levels today and through the next several days in preparation for the storm, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Emergency Shelters Open

Oct 5, 2016

The South Carolina Response Team today announced the opening of shelters across the state for residents and visitors who are evacuating from coastal areas as Hurricane Matthew approaches. Shelters began opening on Wednesday, October 5, and as of 5 PM there are 32 shelters open.

Charleston County Hurricane Matthew Update

Oct 5, 2016

Charleston County Government announces the following shelters are now open:

  • North Charleston High School, 1087 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
  • Stall High School, 3625 Ashley Phosphate Rd, North Charleston, SC 29418
  • A.C. Corcoran Elementary, 8585 Vistavia Rd, North Charleston, SC 29406
  • Midland Park Primary, 2415 Midland Park Road, North Charleston, SC 29406
  • Ladson Elementary, 3321 Ladson Rd, Ladson, SC 29456
  • Edmund A. Burns Elementary, 3750 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, SC 29405 (Pet / Pet Owner Shelter)

Gov. Nikki Haley and other state officials during Tuesday press conference.
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

As Hurricane Matthew threatens the southeastern United States, Governor Nikki Haley today ordered an evacuation of coastal areas in and around Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina  

Residents and visitors in Charleston and Beaufort Counties should begin evacuating no later than 3:00 PM TODAY, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5.  Residents and visitors in certain parts of bordering coastal counties – Berkeley, Colleton, Dorchester and Jasper Counties – should begin evacuating no later than 3:00 PM TODAY, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5.

Hundreds of volunteers with the nonprofit Eight Days of Hope were expected in Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties Saturday. The group was scheduled to start rebuilding 150 homes damaged in last year’s flood. President Stephen Tybor is now asking some of those volunteers to delay their arrival.

"We ask those volunteers that are going to come in tomorrow on Saturday, to delay that arrival to Sunday Afternoon."

Tybor said teams that are already in the area will temporarily shift their focus to post-storm cleanup.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Governor Nikki Haley today issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency and asked residents to prepare for a potential evacuation of the South Carolina coast in advance of any impact from Hurricane Matthew.

As state officials continue to monitor weather conditions, the governor will update residents about preparations for Hurricane Matthew, including the need for an evacuation of coastal areas, during a news conference tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5, at 9:00 AM.

Counselling
lisafx/123RF Stock Photo

On average, about two people die by suicide each day in South Carolina, which is more than twice the state’s homicide rate.   With its “Out of the Darkness” walks statewide in October and November, the S.C.

Only days after the flood, Columbia's Gills Creek was approaching normal level, but its rage left its marks, both on the vegetation pictured here, and on its many victims.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Rain can be a painful reminder to some people of the great losses suffered a year ago in South Carolina’s historic floods.  According to USC School of Social Work Assistant Professor Patrice Penney, the anniversary of a traumatic event such as the floods can cause fear, anxiety and other symptoms in survivors. And psychologist Richard Kagan tells us that these renewed feelings at the anniversary are perfectly normal behavior, but  William Wells of the S.C. Dept.

Low Prices Make Flood Recovery Tough For Farmers

Sep 30, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

Farmer Jamie Burgess has a lot riding on this harvest.

“Corn so far is doing good,” he said from the drivers seat of his combine. “If we can just get a good price we’ll be all right.”  

Last year, most of Burgess’ crops were drowned by record rainfall. The South Carolina agriculture department estimates farmers lost 75 percent of the money they were expecting to make off of crops in 2015.  

Alexandra Olgin

The future of a South Carolina hospital damaged by water a year ago is uncertain. The Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree was damaged by heavy rains last October and it  is still waiting to hear if it will get funding to repair or build a new facility.

Louise Welch-Williams (center), the Regional CEO for the Red Cross in South Carolina at work in Southern Louisiana. Welch-Williams was one of more than 50 Red Crossers who travelled to Louisiana to help after the August floods.
Courtesy of the American Red Cross

    In August, the state of Louisiana experienced catastrophic flooding in one of the worst natural disasters since Hurricane Sandy. Residents of South Carolina could certainly relate to the images of houses under water and people being rescued by boat, as South Carolina is still recovering from last fall’s historic floods. Having gone through something similar, many people in the state want to help in some way.

  In 2015, Tomeka Frazier and her young son were living with her former foster mother and searching for affordable housing of their own. Then the October flood came, and housing became intensely competitive as displaced flood victims searched for a place to stay. On top of losing most of their belongings in the flood, the Fraziers were forced to leave the city of Columbia to find somewhere to live. Tomeka describes her fight to find stability for her and her son after the flood as a disabled single parent.

Elk in the Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina
Upstate SC Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

There’s nothing more exciting if you are an outdoors enthusiast than observing wild animals in their natural habitats, except for maybe seeing or even hearing an animal that you don’t expect to be where you are.

2015’s Historic Flood: Past, Present, and Future

Sep 28, 2016
Rachel Larratt stands among the wreckage in her community after the flood of October 4, 2015.
Courtesy of Rachel Larratt

Over the course of the year since the historic floods of October 2015, South Carolina Public Radio has shared with you numerous stories ranging from repairing homes and businesses, fixing roads and dams, to the personal stories of loss and survival.

On 2015’s Historic Flood: Past, Present, and Future we’ll bring you up-to-date on some of the people we’ve met … and some of the stories we’ve chronicled.

All Stations: Fri, Sep 30, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Oct 02, 4 pm

Elevated House
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

September 20 was the deadline for counties to submit their proposed flood recovery action plans to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With plans submitted, Lexington County anticipates its plan to be approved. The 55-page plan calls for 61.2% of its $16.332 million dollars of Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Funds on home buy-outs.

Margaret and Harry Plexico spent months trying to clean up and salvage their flooded home before decided to start over elsewhere.
Ryan Plexico

Update: Due to Hurricane Matthew, the SC Flood Strong 5K has been rescheduled for December 10, 2016.

Ryan Plexico used to stop by his parents’ home every day to go for a run in their neighborhood. When his parents lost their home in the October floods, Ryan found a way to give back through running.

Roads Still Closed Nearly A Year After Dams Failed

Sep 21, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

Fragments of black asphalt lay in the bottom of a collapsed two-lane road in Calhoun County. Part of Church Camp Road buckled after the dam underneath it failed during heavy rains last October. It has been closed since, which state Representative Russell Ott says is too long.

“In a years’ time a decision can be made. It’s a tough decision to have to make and I don’t envy that decision but at the same time it is still one that has to be made,” he said.

 

The view just outside of the Columbia Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant during October's flood.
David Wiman

South Carolina's largest wastewater treatment plant had spent a week preparing for a hurricane in early October last year. The rain started, winds were blowing, but instead of a hurricane, South Carolina got a flood -- the worst it's seen in years. Cooper McKim reports how four individuals stayed behind to keep the plant running.

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