|S.C. Army National Guard members help Summerville residents remove debris Thursday. More than 3,000 guard members have been activated to assist communities across the state to help in the aftermath of the flooding that began with rain a week ago. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun)|
Published Oct. 9, 2015
S.C. emergency management officials are focusing resources today in Charleston, Georgetown, Dorchester and Williamsburg counties as rainwater continues to move from the Midlands to the Lowcountry.
“We’re going to continue to do house-to-house notifications as we go into those areas to check on people, to make sure that they know if they need to get out, they will,” Gov. Nikki Haley said during a news conference this afternoon.
The S.C. Department of Transportation is reporting 384 road closures, including 125 bridges. The 13-mile stretch of Interstate 95 between mile markers 119 and 132 continues to be closed. Haley said there are 33 areas of concern on the nine bridges that make up that stretch of interstate.
“We don’t want to open that up until we know it’s specifically safe. So that will continue to be closed,” Haley said.
DOT has 35 teams working to assess roads and bridges in 22 counties. The teams will categorize road repairs into three categories: Immediate, 2-to-4 week and long-term. Five contractor teams also have been hired by the department to begin debris removal Monday, Haley said.
The governor said citizens in the Midlands and in areas that are not expecting more flooding should start helping their neighbors clean up.
“If you want to help, don’t go to a shelter. If you want to help, go to those neighborhoods that you know have seen trouble, that have seen damage in their areas. And you can help with cleanup,” she said.
The 23 shelters that are open in S.C. are now holding 521 occupants, and an additional 11 shelters are expected to open in Dorchester, Williamsburg, Georgetown, Horry and Berkeley counties. Haley said the shelters have all the resources that they need and some have too much.
“In some cases, we may only have 10 people in a shelter. But if there is one person that needs shelter, we’re going to do that,” she said.
In the nine days since Haley declared a state of emergency, the Department of Public Safety has taken 6,235 calls for service, and the Department of Natural Resources has conducted 810 water rescues, including some in Georgetown County on Thursday.
She said the fatality number remains at 17, and officials from DNR and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division will be rechecking areas today to make sure citizens are safe.
The S.C. National Guard has activated 3,826 members, and they have performed 210 missions in 18 counties, Haley said. A total of 17 dams have failed, and the state is now monitoring 84 dams.
Reach staff writer Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyBHeff on Twitter.