SC News

News from and about the Palmetto State.

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.

 

How Four Individuals Became 'Water Heroes'

Sep 19, 2016
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.

Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School
Greenville County School District

    The Greenville County School District, the state's largest district, is offering universal free breakfasts to all students attending the 92 Greenville County Schools this year.  Taking advantage of a program enacted by Congress in 2010, the district is among a number of districts in the state finding ways to offer all of its' students free breakfasts.  Research shows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to foster learning in school students.

  Fire ants are a perennial problem in the South, and in South Carolina, but science is working to control them.  Aiken County Clemson Extension Agent Vicki Bertagnalli and former Richland County Clemson Extension Agent Tim Davis both have tested ant baits before they were marketed, and say they can be 85-90 percent effective in controlling fire ants when used in the spring and fall. 

Harmony School teacher Jennifer Mancke admires the mural made by student in the flood-damaged preschool building that will require about $400,000 to repair.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

At Harmony School, a private school in the Columbia suburb of Forest Acres, children learn in a couple of portable classrooms that were pressed into service after last October’s historic flood.  The move was required because the flood rendered the school’s largest building, its preschool, unusable.  Just 2 to 4 inches from the overflow of adjacent Gills Creek was all it took to cause $400,000 worth of damage.  Director Debbie Holmes and teacher Jennifer Mancke talk about the event and the school’s efforts to raise money for its repair.  Even the school’s students are pitching in.    

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard/Credit Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann

The National Flood Insurance Program has a problem.

More than 5 million people, mainly in coastal states, have policies through it, but the federal program is in more than $23 billion in debt. Experts feel reforms are needed as the 2017 renewal approaches. One of those people is Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Management and Decision Process Center. He was part of a study last year focused on Charleston, South Carolina.

Lawmakers Consider New Dam Safety Regulations

Sep 9, 2016
South Carolina House Chamber
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Nearly one year after the October 2015 flood where breached dams caused destruction, regulators are trying to codify new rules for the structures.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control reports 52 dams were breached during the historic flooding last fall. The agency is proposing that dam owners update contact information and emergency plans yearly and that future regulation cover smaller dams. The agency regulates more than 2,300 dams statewide. DHEC is also suggesting that dams that pose greater risk are inspected more frequently.

Volunteers work on Flood-damaged house
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

Volunteers and charitable organizations are essential to long-term disaster recovery. They gut houses, hang dry wall, fix roofs, remove mold along with a plethora of other needed services. But housing out-of-state volunteers for weeks or months at a time can be challenging. Thelisha Eaddy talks with United Way of Midlands Disaster Recovery Manager Michael Hagins, about how, 11 months after October’s flood, housing is an issue for both flood survivors and the volunteers who want to help them.

Mopeds at Hawg Scooters, Rosewood Drive, Columbia. 2.	More South Carolinians are riding mopeds, and there are numerous reasons why.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

    With the opening of the fall semester at colleges across the state, a multitude of students can be seen negotiating the streets on mopeds. But they are by no means the only riders. The use of these low-power scooters is exploding across South Carolina, and the nation. Today we talk with two dealers who explain the phenomenon, as well as a rider who tells of the advantages he gets from his moped.

Gary Bolton of Strawberry Skys recording studio, Columbia, runs a session. Strawberry Skys is one of about 20 professional recording studios in South Carolina.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

  As recording technology continues to improve, recording studios are finding themselves in an ironic struggle to survive against that very technology. The owners of two recording studios in the Columbia area say they often find themselves being undercut by technology that allows many artists to record at home and skip the recording studio altogether – or almost.

Vince Kolb-Lugo/SC Public Radio
Vince Kolb-Lugo/SC Public Radio

In West Columbia, Lake Murray is the source of water for 60,000 nearby residents. Before anyone can turn on their sink though, the water has to be treated for taste, cleaning, and safety. This past July, the treatment process ran into a problem: there was a contaminant present.  It's called haloacetic acid, a carcinogenic, and it was above the legal limit of what the plant should be sending out to citizens. Cooper McKim has the story.

    

Predicted track for Tropical Storm Hermine.
NOAA/NWS

  People in potentially vulnerable areas throughout South Carolina should review their plans and consider actions they would need to take as the storm moves through the state.  Residents and visitors should monitor the storm via local news media and through updates from local National Weather Service offices, especially people in low-lying areas throughout the State.

SCE&G Braces for Hermine

Sep 1, 2016
Predicted path of Hermine.
NOAA/NWS

  SCE&G is bracing for impact from Tropical Storm Hermine. The current forecast suggests that this tropical storm will have its biggest impact Friday afternoon through Friday evening in the low country and coastal areas where the forecast calls for about 4-6” of rain and wind gusts up to 45 mph. SCE&G will also be on the lookout for tornadoes in and around the eye. All of these conditions have the potential to cause power outages.

Estimated rainfall from Tropical Storm Hermine (from The National Weather Service).Credit NOAA/NWSEdit | Remove

  Due to the potential for windy conditions and heavy rain along the South Carolina coast, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division today increased its operating condition to Level 4. The Division is encouraging people in South Carolina to monitor the situation, make plans and take precautions.

Tropical Storm Hermine, in the Gulf of Mexico, is growing stronger as it approaches the Florida coast, the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm, which has been moving very slowly, is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall north of Tampa likely early Friday. It's then predicted to pass overland toward the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, weakening as it goes.

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