Saturday 10 December 2016

Hurricane Joaquin rages in South Carolina - power cuts and rising floodwaters reported

Published 04/10/2015 | 20:03

An all-terrain vehicle navigates along flooded Church Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
An all-terrain vehicle navigates along flooded Church Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A downtown business is lined with sandbags for possible floods in downtown Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Clare Reigard of Georgetown, South Carolina, abandons her car after it stalled on Duke Street due to heavy rains in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Whitney Pond and her sisters check out the flooding along Orange Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A Georgetown police officer directs traffic into Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill

A dangerous rainstorm drenching the US East Coast has brought more misery to South Carolina - cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing many roads because of floodwater.

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Early on Sunday, emergency officials sent a statewide alert telling people to stay off roads and remain indoors unless their homes were in danger of flooding.

Ammie McKnight watches the level of floodwaters in the front yard of her Orange Street home in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Ammie McKnight watches the level of floodwaters in the front yard of her Orange Street home in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Floodwaters surround a house along Orange Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A car and a utility vehicle navigate Orange Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A car is stalled due to heavy rains, along flooded US 17 in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Major roads were closed by flooding in several spots - including a 75-mile (120-kilometre) stretch of an interstate highway in the eastern part of the state - and nearly 30,000 customers were without power.

The region around the state capital of Columbia was being hit particularly hard, with the city's police department tweeting: "Too many roads to name that are flooded. Please heed our warning! DO NOT venture out!"

Read more here: Search resumes for cargo ship that disappeared during Hurricane Joaquin  

The county government said 100 people had been rescued from vehicles after trying to cross flooded roads, while state officials reported a total of 200 swift-water rescues around the state. Columbia police said another 200 rescue calls were pending as of midmorning.

Local news showed dramatic images of flooding around the city, including rescuers wading into waist-deep water to help drivers trapped at a busy intersection.

Elsewhere, emergency personnel on boats were shown taking people from a Columbia apartment complex where water covered the roofs of vehicles in car park.

A resident along Orange Street watches the level of floodwaters in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A resident along Orange Street watches the level of floodwaters in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A resident along Orange Street watches the level of flood waters in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A large cargo vehicle travels down US 17 in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Ammie McKnight watches the level of floodwaters in the front yard of her Orange Street home in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A view shows floodwaters partially submerging Orange Street in Georgetown, South Carolina October 4, 2015. Most major roads through the historical South Carolina city have closed due to flooding. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Read more here: Thousands without power as rainstorm drenches US East Coast  

Emergency shelters were being opened around the state for displaced residents.

The Columbia area received the most rain in the state overnight, with up to 14 inches (36cms) reported in some places since Saturday.

To the southeast, meanwhile, rainfall had exceeded two feet (60 centimeters) since Friday in some areas around Charleston, though conditions had improved enough that residents and business owners were allowed back into the waterlogged downtown on a limited basis.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and ordered federal aid to bolster state and local efforts.

At least five weather-related deaths have been reported since rains began spreading over the Eastern Seaboard, which appeared to dodge the full fury of Hurricane Joaquin that is veering out to sea.

Reuters

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