Record Rainstorm in the Carolinas

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Sun, Oct 4, 2015 - 9:09am

There's quite a storm hitting the Carolinas this weekend. Ocean-located Charleston SC is getting particularly hard hit, with 13" of rain in three days and parts of it in 5-ft of standing water. That's also due to high tides and any storm surge from offshore Hurricane Joaquin (now poised to pound Bermuda and then head out to sea.) The entire South Carolina coast is being hammered.

But it's not just the coast. The entire state of South Carolina is under a state of emergency. A dragon's tongue of moisture is being spun off Joaquin's far-flung clouds and a storm from the Gulf of Mexico is pulling it directly across the entire state, from the ocean to the mountains, from Friday evening to Monday morning with no letup. It's being called a "slow motion disaster." Just about the entire state of SC is under a Flash Flood Warning--not watch, Warning--and the numbers of rivers and streams above flood stage is already impressive.

Here in the Columbia SC area we have lots of streams turned into rivers, and rivers well above flood stage and rising. Flood stage for the nearby Congaree River is 115 ft; as of last night it was at 117.5 ft and is projected to hit 128 ft or more. 

Personally, our home is on high ground. We have power but are, of course, ready if we lose power. One new item is that we personally went out and cleaned out the storm drain gratings on our street before the storm. Yes, that is usually a municipal function but we have a wheelbarrow and a pitchfork and shovel so why not?

34 Comments

Tall's picture
Tall
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Serious business

Stay safe Wendy!

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Worse than a hurricane

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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10" to 24" in 2 days, and more rain coming ..

Same road, before and after.

Gervais St Bridge, Columbia SC: the Congaree River is 30 ft higher - and rising. Plus, they have to let a huge amount of water out of the Lake Murray Dam down the Saluda RIver and into the Congaree, so they've evacuated 1/2 mile back from both rivers.

People outside of SC have no idea how devastating this is and it is only going to get worse with more rain forecast tonight and swollen rivers and creeks still rising and draining toward the worst hit areas. .

Historic Rainfall Pummels the Carolinas and Floods Charleston

 

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Michael_Rudmin
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When all this is done, you can...

...go just upstream or downstream of the fall line, and on the inside curve of the stream where there is debris from the flooding, pan for gold.

If you get a good bit of fine gold, then look upstream for a sandbar in the middle of the stream. Look with a metal detector there for nuggets.

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Michael_Rudmin
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For the repairs...

You have a lot of bridges washed out.

One thing that can be done, is to contact all the prestressed concrete plants, and ask: what product do you have that is rejected, that is strong, just rejected for geometry reasons?

Then turn around, and see what bridges match the product. Get those bridges rebuilt first.

At our plant, I'm pretty sure we have some overcambered void slabs, a couple rejected 50'x10' or 50'x5' segmental sections, a number of girders.

Other plants wild have similar. There are plants in Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Hampton Roads, Petersburg, and so on. Get a list, and then see what you can do with it.

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Poet
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Thank you, Wendy!

Thank you so much for the reminder that we need to be prepared for a lot of different possibilities.

Please stay safe!

 

Poet

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France floods: 17 dead on Riviera after storms

My home region in France has been hit hard too, crazy. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34437228

 

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Slow motion disaster

Wendy, I had no idea of what you guys are going through in South Carolina!  Incredible photos. 

I was glad to read that you guys live on high ground, with all the flooding.  Let me add my voice to the others here wishing that you and your husband stay safe!

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pinecarr,Nobody seemed to

pinecarr,

Nobody seemed to know. That why I put out all the photos. I will be doing a "lessons learned" post in a little while.

- WSD

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Lessons Learned (so far) – SC Flood of 2015

Like any natural disaster, there were some basics to prepare for, which I shall group based on the PeakProsperity.com WSID list. Then I will list things more specific to our particular emergency that may have broader applicability.  Here is what we got right and need to work on (so far) based on the 2015 South Carolina Flood Disaster.

GENERAL

Water: the Prep. We were aware that sewage facilities might overflow, and drinking water pipes might break. So based on the projected length of the potential disaster we filled two 5-gallon buckets and two 3-gallon jugs with drinking water. We also had a 6’ft x 10” round kiddie pool we’d recently soaked the oak logs in for our shiitake mushroom plugs and we left that out to collect rainwater to flush toilets and wash dishes. The stored water got a few drops of bleach so it would not get musty. Keep in mind we have an electric well (water tests potable) and a torpedo bucket, and water purifying tablets, and an indoor filter.

We intentionally did not use the tub to store water so we could bathe.

The Result: We still have  municipal drinking water but the next town over is on a “boil water” advisory. Since the emergency is by no means over yet the stored water is still in the laundry room. And the kiddie pool is still full.

Storing Food: the Prep. A short-term disaster is when a pantry comes in handy. I have a further tool: I make a grocery list based on a weekly menu I post on the fridge, so I am certain to have all the ingredients to make a week’s worth of meals. Add that to a pantry that can feed you anywhere from two weeks to two months and when there is a “bread and milk” emergency (this was one) you will not be driving to the store in potentially hazardous conditions to find the shelves stripped bare. We had enough to share with neighbors if needed. We had two indoor and two outdoor ways to cook it. And if there was a prolonged power failure we could pressure-can the contents of the freezer and fridge; we bought an extra tank of propane and could can on the covered porch.

The Result: Two small power outages caused no real disruption. In fact, I got bored and made a pie.

Growing & Preserving Food: the Prep. Well, this was more about us battening down the hatches outdoors than anything else. When we cleaned out the street storm drains they were filled with lovely half-decayed leaves and we added them to our compost pile. Everything we’d planted did fine, but we did have to check the tomatoes and some had fallen. As for preserving food, let’s just say we used things preserved from the garden like any other day. Thyme in the beef stew, pickled hot peppers  and fresh tomatoes on the tostadas, peppers & onions & tomatoes in an omelet, our green beans as a side dish, fig jam at breakfast, pickles with lunch. It was very comforting to know that is we ran out of anything like bread or milk we either had it (dry and condensed milk) or could make it (bread).

Health & First Aid: the Prep.  A few years ago I sent an entire tax return on first aid supplies and OTC remedies. We inventory it and make sure these supplies stay up-to-date. We store them and HBA items in a bookcase in our bathroom with a pretty curtain in front of the stowage. 

The Result: Should anything serious happen we would have been on our own. Roads were and are washed out everywhere. We had no issues this weekend but it was comforting to know we were ready.

Heat, Power & Communications: the Prep.  If we needed heat we have the woodstove and wood is already stacked on the porch. For alternative power we have a number of Uninterruptable Power Supplies which can run a CFL light for days and an LED even longer as well as rechargeable batteries for our flashlights and a solar charger for the batteries and our phones, and—if sunny—a laptop.  

The Result: Temperatures were mild for this emergency and we only lost power twice, briefly, in daylight. Our cell phones were adequate alternatives to let bosses and family know we were okay at those times.

Community: the Prep. Part of the reason I moved to the Bible Belt was to plug into the community here and it has not disappointed me.  We joined a large church that tells you in membership class that you are no longer alone, you are a part of a community, and if something breaks or you lose your job or there is no food – call us. Also, everyone is required to do something to help. So when my son’s roof leaked they sent someone over to fix it.  When members lose their jobs, I do career counseling and help them with resumes. The facilities are not as close as I’d like but they had the best community and they are “small groups” church. We are working toward running a small group out of our home, which would solve the proximity problem.

As for our immediate neighborhood, we know each other and help as we can. For example, Brian kept the municipal storm drains from clogging.

The Result: Still happening. The church app and email bulletin is checking that everyone is okay, and collecting needs and offers and matching them up. We told them we are fine and have room for one displaced person.

Oh and the cleared storm drains meant 15 homes down the street were not isolated by flooding.

SPECIFICS

Siting/location. Our cousin Peggy lives in Charleston but has had no flooding since she is on high ground. My family is from Western Pennsylvania, and the Johnstown Flood is seared into their collective memories. The house I grew up in had a 3 or 4-ft wide stream behind it, down a 14-ft embankment, that became 150-ft wide in rained. So one of the first things I asked my Brian before I married him was, “Is this house safe from floods?” We have no running water nearby, which was a bummer when it came to drinking water but there are several natural ponds within walking distance and we are on high ground. My late father would have loved the site for its safety from floods.

Streams you could jump over easily became swollen with rains until they threatened houses in this disaster.  Creeks that were as wide as a single-car driveway caused floods that washed away trucks and filled homes and businesses, sometimes to the top of the first floor. Dams failed on lots of ponds and lakes. If you have a small pond or stream near your home I suggest you look at it with new eyes.

Sanitary concerns. This was an actual issue for us in this disaster! Our subdivision has its own treatment plant at the bottom of the hill, and it went into alarm Sat AM. We knew that if we did dishes, washed clothes or flushed it made sewage backing up into our neighbor’s homes that much more likely. So we stacked the dirty dishes for later, and would have done them camp style outdoors if needed. We dealt with the toilet issue with a snap-on potty lid on a 5-gallon bucket. Luckily the alarm was fixed before we could accumulate much in the way of . . . fertilizer.

Trash removal. Brian and I have worked very hard on having a small environmental footprint, and this includes minimal packaging. So we do not make much trash; a kitchen-pail-sized bag a week, usually. That’s good, since trash collection has been suspended due to the emergency and the trash/recycling center is closed (if you can get to it).

Work/Travel issues. My step-daughter is not sure if her workplace is flooded and she cannot go to see due to (a) flooding on the interstate (that’s a pic of it underwater, above) and before the I-20 entrance (the guy and a dog in a boat are on her cross-street) and (b) the fact that they closed down the major bridge across the Broad River on I-20 to assess structural integrity. The Army uses the interstate to move equipment, so it is fitting that their Corps of Engineers is checking interstate bridges, but the water is still quite high. Her situation is not unique. Many people still have homes but will no longer have jobs or may not be able to get to them - or to family. My niece lives in Charleston but is stranded in Florence at her mother’s  place until they open ANY of the roads in and out of Charleston and her husband.

The SC Dept of Transportation has a list of closed roads, added to by residents as they call them in, so my husband could theoretically plot a way to a damaged client to help them. He’s been asked to work from home and is doing so. Not everyone has that option.

Also, Brian made a foray out to help an elderly church member while I wrote this. He says two of the three roads out of our area are closed. Basically, any road with a nearby pond or that straddles a stream is impassible. Our mail truck is in a ditch but he was able to get some supplies.

Mark Cochrane's picture
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Weather on steriods

Wendy,

Thanks for your firsthand updates on the situation in South Carolina. It sounds like you are on higher ground, which is good, but this event will undoubtedly impact the region for months to come as infrastructure needs to be rebuilt once the flooding subsides.

Is this caused by global climate change or is it just natural variability in the weather? Actually it is a bit of both. One of the better analogies I've heard about global climate change (aka global warming) is that it is akin to a baseball player using steroids. Steroids do not hit a baseball anymore than climate change causes a storm. However, steroids do allow the ballplayer to hit more balls further, more of the time, yielding more home runs, for example. Climate change means that events such as storms and droughts are more likely to become 'extreme' because the system has more energy from the ongoing warming process (steroids). So more storms are severe and the rare 'extreme' events aren't quite as uncommon as the used to be.

From your linked article

The incredible moisture flow streaming toward South Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean is being enhanced by Hurricane Joaquin, which continued to strengthen on Saturday and is now the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic this far north this late in the year, and one of the strongest ever during an El Niño, which typically makes Atlantic hurricanes weaker.

The engine for hurricanes is the ocean water temperature. Greater than 90% of the energy that the planet is currently storing up due to greenhouse gases is piling up in the oceans. Ocean surface temperatures are rising allowing for stronger (not greater numbers), longer lasting hurricanes that are present later in the season.

The situation that South Carolina is enduring is not due simply to the hurricane though, it is a function of a 'rare' confluence of a Canadian high pressure area and a low pressure area over Alabama that are funneling the hurricane moisture right to you. Climate change didn't create this but it sure has made it worse. If the oceans weren't as warm as they are the hurricane would be weaker (perhaps a tropical storm or depression) and might not even have persisted this long.

In addition

Saturday afternoon’s coastal flood was the city’s seventh-worst on record, and it didn’t even require a hurricane landfall.

This is a function of sea level rise (i.e. more global warming effects). As sea levels rise, it provides a platform from which storm surges can drive flooding more frequently and deeper ashore.

Where have we seen this before? Way back in 2012 when another strange confluence of events supercharged a very late (October 28, 29), very far north hurricane into "Superstorm Sandy". This became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (1150 miles in diameter (1850km)). It pummeled the Atlantic seaboard and caused extensive flooding from the storm surge as it plowed onto land in New Jersey. So, warm sea surface temperatures, 'unusual' weather patterns and high sea levels = bad combinations for human populations and their infrastructure. An added twist is that the blocking pattern over Greenland that stalled the Arctic front that supercharged Sandy into the monster storm it became was caused by (drumroll please...) the melting of Arctic ice. Three guess what has been causing that.

Huge 'rare' storm surges (13ft), such as occurred with Hurricane Sandy, are projected to become the 'new norm' on the Eastern Seaboard by mid-century. The take home message here is that what we consider to be uncommon or rare events (1,000 yr flooding on the East coast and 1,000 yr drought on the West coast...) will become increasingly common and that means that truly uncommon and rare events will become much more extreme than we are accustomed to. Welcome to your weather on steroids. All of us are likely to run afoul of it in different ways wherever we live. They better rebuild those bridges higher and stronger.

On the bright side, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is switching phases and this should lead to lower numbers of hurricanes in the Atlantic for the foreseeable future. That will be small comfort to those who are still hit by the ones that do spawn but the statistics for avoiding such fates are improved...

Mark

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Airhead

Consider an Airhead toilet. I use one on my bug-out boat. "Decomposed solids smell like new mown hay." Sort of.

Excellent starter for an apricot tree. (Apricot schnapps). Isn't nature wonderful?  The Great Circle of Life.

http://airheadtoilet.com/specifications/

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Uneasy Comfort

Mark,

As a teacher, I am becoming more and more comfortable saying to my students they should consider the math behind climate change and not the politics, and then make up their minds.  When they do that...when I did that....well, the numbers don't lie.  It was a long process for me, it took years, but thankfully my denial years are behind me.

Record California drought.

Record rainfall in South Carolina.

Record heat in Vermont, warmest September on record.

How many more examples are there?  If folks look at the math, hopefully their transition away from the climate change argument takes less time than mine did.

My thoughts to everyone in the path of this event....

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Thank you Wendy for this important topic and information

Wendy, what an excellent summary of your preparation's strengths, utility and shortfalls!

Thank you for assembling this and using this real-time disaster to share with us your still-developing lessons. What a gift to this community.

Truly this was an historic rainfall event, and one that really took everyone by surprise…but maybe it shouldn’t have on some level…because as Mark points out, the weather events are really on steroids now.

Which brings to mind this article from 2013 written by Paul Ferrell:

Warning: 100-year climate disasters every 100 days

Sept 25, 2013

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Warning: 100-year megafires, 100-year megafloods, 100-year droughts and all the other 100-year-cycle climate-change and global-warming disasters that are supposed to happen somewhere around the world once a century? Science is now telling us they’re happening every 100 days or less. And that’s not only costly for the world, the news is bad for climate-science deniers.

Breaking news tells the real story ... Colorado flooding out of control... Arizona megafires ... Oklahoma tornadoes ... Jersey Shore’s superstorm ... Yosemite Rim fire ... Africa floods ... hurricanes in Mexico... Japan’s typhoons ... Chinese earthquakes ... Corn Belt losing half its ground water. The climate-disaster news is so relentless, our minds have to tune it out to keep our sanity. So we distract ourselves in television, get lost in social media, focus on America’s dysfunctional political drama.

In South Carolina there have been 9 dam failures reported (so far), and 550 road and bridge closures, with a significant portion of those heavily damaged and needing either repair or replacement.

100% of the roads leading into and out of Manning SC have been closed, cutting of 4,000 people from any and all replacement supplies.

I wonder how many of them will actually reconsider their personal levels of preparation and do something for themselves after this crisis and before the next one?

If superstorm Sandy is any indication, about 0.004% of them will.

But it’s time for our irony alert of the day:

2 Years Before Flooding, South Carolina Republicans Opposed Sandy Relief

Oct 4, 2015

According to roll call votes for both the House and Senate versions of the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, almost all of South Carolina’s Republican delegation voted against providing funds to flood-stricken New Yorkers in the wake of the storm. Reps. Joe Wilson (the same Joe Wilson who shouted “You lie!” during Obama’s State of the Union address), Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy (a conservative pick for the speakership), and Mick Mulvaney all voted “nay” to Sandy relief.

In the Senate, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott also voted against Sandy relief. This is especially ironic, considering Lindsey Graham had asked for federal disaster relief several years before Sandy. Even South Carolina’s lone Democrat, Jim Clyburn, recorded a no vote in the House. Ironically, the only South Carolinian to vote for Sandy relief was Republican Tom Rice of Myrtle Beach — who likely understands the value of providing disaster relief.

Will South Carolina’s congressional delegation change their tune on federal disaster relief now that their state depends on it?

You can bet your bottom dollar that now that the shoe is on the other foot these same Congresscritters will be begging for relief.

The fact that politicians think nothing of making political hay out of disaster relief assistance tells us much about how many rungs we’ve slipped down the ladder of civilization.

The US is increasingly becoming and uncivilized place, as evidenced by the callous bombing of hospitals in war zones, young adults so cut of from life that a mass shooting appeals to them as a means of getting attention, and drug companies raise product prices to levels they know will cause a certain percentage of current users to die because they can no longer afford them.

But all of that is a rant for another day.

Please keep us informed as things develop in SC.

 

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Disaster relief

Opposing disaster relief is a low percentage move since it is just about as likely as to finally catching up with you as death and taxes. Below is the figure for Federal Disaster Declarations in the United States since 2014. For comparison, despite all of the drought and fires out west this year, 2015 has a relatively low number of declarations at only 70 so far.

If you look below at major disaster declarations (blue) you will see a step up in numbers of declarations right at 1972 and another around 1996. Right around 1970 is when temperatures started rising rapidly around the world. Correlation is not causation but it is damned suspicious. Also, if you look at 'Fire Management Declarations' you can see that something broke badly in our fire management abilities right at about 1996. We used to be able to control situations fairly well before then but we have been increasingly overwhelmed since then, mostly out west. Year after year we are suffering large fires that we can no longer contain. Climate change is not the only factor but it is a substantial one.

 

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the situation today

If you want to look it up, we live in Lexington, SC a mile or two north of the Columbia SC airport (CAE), about 7 miles east of the SC State Capitol building and 7 miles west of  downtown Lexington. Both cities were destroyed by Sherman on his march to Georgia in the Civil War. Both are very badly damaged now by the floods. Reports say "It will take weeks or months for things to get back to normal." It will take days to asses if major rivers bridge crossings are safe. 

Downtown Lexington to the west of us is really a small village, mainly important because it's the county seat. FYI a couple of hundred years ago my town was located near the Congaree River (across from Columbia SC) and it flooded out; the residents sensibly moved to higher ground. Still, I've seen pictures of an intersection in downtown that was near a creek and let's just say there will be a portion of downtown that never knew it needed flood insurance.

Drinking water for the city of Columbia will take a week to be safe to drink, and the fire department is currently pumping potable water into the pipes of the main hospital downtown.

The city is built at the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers into the Congaree River, and over a hundred years ago they built a canal to take water traffic past the rapids. The Canal had a catastrophic failure due to flooding, right next to one of the oldest hydroelectric plants in the USA.

One of the biggest things that is jumping out at me are the number of roads washed out by creeks that had culverts that ware inadequate to the flow of the flood-engorged streams. One community of 4,000 souls has no way in or out except via boat at the moment. I hope they're preppers, but am pretty confident that most Southern homemakers "set store" by a pantry.

A lot of people have flooded homes. Many will lose those home to mold and undermining. They lost everything. Many more lost cars.

The death toll stands at 19 so far, and that was only because most people listened to the warnings once they had notice. (Side note: I really wonder how many people got their first flood warnings through their cell phones? I know I did.)

The other huge thing is how many businesses were damaged or destroyed by flooding. Those are all jobs, people, and many of them will not be coming back.

I have to say, in the same fashion that SC residents did not engage in anything like the riots in Baltimore MD and Ferguson MO after our horrible racially-incited shooting, they're making me proud at the moment. It was not just police and fire departments helping. Volunteers  played a big role in this. Those guys you see in the photos in cammo gear with cammo boats are local hunters, helping their neighbors. It really matters WHERE you relocate, and I think I chose well to come her from Long Island, NY.

And we are really grateful for the National Guard troops arriving from three adjoining states to spell our tired first responders.

We have a council of churches working with providing immediate needs. Anyone who wants to help can send money to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Both are doing great work here.

To support the Red Cross flood response and relief efforts in South Carolina visit Red Cross SC Flood Relief.

To give online to support Salvation Army visit www.SalvationArmyCarolinas.org/flood.

By Phone:  1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)

By Mail:   The Salvation Army
Southern Territorial Headquarters
PO. Box 1959
Atlanta, GA  30301

Please label checks “East Coast Floods”

By Text:  Text STORM to 51555

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Ha! wait for your check?

Mark Cochrane,

I truly believe we will soon see a day where no federal disaster monies will be available, In fact, I believe it is already here: I understand there are those who were impacted by Superstorm Sandy who are still waiting for help.

Big Daddy government will be able to do less and less and neighbors will have to do more and more. That's why I put up places to give at a private charity (Salvation Army) and an NGO (Red Cross).

It's best to be a part of a resilient community and look out for yourself and your neighbors. That's why we cleaned out the storm drains on our street during this storm. That's why local duck hunters went out in their boats and rescued people.That's why the SC Council of Baptists is coordinating a local relief drive for urgently needed items, mostly through email and social media. Community matters.

In the meantime, even those who are not convinced that human-caused global climate change is an issue will either choose to do with less or be forced to do with less. One way or another their jobs will go, their power sources will dry up, their numbers will decrease through rather catastrophic means. Resource depletion and central bank fiat money debt loads make those outcomes inevitable even without climate change, but please understand that I am focused on our disaster, right now and want to continue to center the discussion there.

 

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Understood

Wendy,

Sorry, I do not mean to distract from your very immediate situation. Today, I was responding to materials in Chris' post. The 'disaster' relief is truly doubtful as we go forward in time, a point I have personally made to my own city council here in SD after flooding/disaster relief of our own. That said, all of those bridges and roads are not likely to be rebuilt from charity or neighborly efforts.

Like others, I am very appreciative of your efforts to not only inform us of this unfolding problem but also of how your preps have worked (or failed) to help you though this. I imagine that a few more people will be open to the concepts promoted here after this.

I hope that you will maintain this thread for the months ahead, updating us on how things unfold over the medium and longer terms of recovery once the storm has passed. News reports generally focus on short term disasters but do little reporting on everything that happens afterward in the 'recovery' period. I for one would find it valuable to hear how your neighborhood, community and region are affected and respond to this storm. Many have lost their homes and some may never return (e.g. New Orleans experienced this). Some will lose their jobs, others will do well (construction). Food and supplies may become more expensive for a time. Will all of the roads and bridge be rebuilt? In my state some roads are being 'allowed' to go back to gravel.

Wishing you well.

Mark

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#SCStrong progress report: Oct 6 roundup

(Compiled yesterday evening.)

God, the sun looked great today. A local weatherman actually teared up on TV thinking of all the loss we've encountered during the storm, now cleared

Midlands SC flood water has come down a good 10 to 20-ft since yesterday.

In the late evening I copied out some early recovery photos. One thing I noticed was a lot of drones being used to assess the damage.  (With the below photos of the Mill Pond understand that we dodged a huge bullet when the dam failed a month before the storm.  If it was still holding back the usual amount of water ten times the amount would have flooded out.)

Drone photo of the washed out Old Mill dam and mall in Old Mill building, downtown Lexington.

Debris of old mill pump house next to the mill. The structure was flooded and undermined. 

A sign on the Old Mill today. The Mill is a symbol to the community; determination to rebuild.

National Guard troops repairing the breech in the Columbia canal. Since bridge supports are possibly damaged,  this excavator was brought over the river by a Chinnook helicopter.

National Guard pumping out swollen Beaver Pond in Columbia, to try and keep the dam from breaching (they were successful.)

“We are in precautionary mode” - SC Governor Nikki Haley

I have to say I am very impressed by how Nikki Haley is handling the emergency. She said in a news conference today that there will be more flood warnings as the water makes its way down to the sea – for the next 36-48 hours (equipment and personnel are now pre-positioned in potential flood areas). SC DOT reports 459 road closures in the state, 169 of them are bridges. Utility outages are taken care of.  So far in the disaster there have been 4,367 police service calls;1,843 traffic collisions.  We are being warned to NOT MOVE or go around barriers so that the roads can be inspected as safe before opening. Brian and I saw a moved barrier. Bad idea: they keep finding bodies of people who were swept away in their cars.

175 water rescues so far. 26 shelters in operation with 124 occupants and lots more expected. Those have food and water and blankets galore – the shelters are stocked. (Lots of local restaurants are giving away free meals to first responders.) Increased National Guard presence since yesterday and is now  2,200. DOT repair workers increased from 1,000 to 1,400 now that roads are safer, with 200 engineers. They’re doing temp repairs and assessing major repairs with duration estimates.

Right now there are 268 State Highway Patrolmen out, not including local cops, SLED (those are the state's "internal affairs" cops), DNR (fish and wildlife cops), plus Probation and Parole officers assisting.

 

“This is a time of taking care of each other, and neighbors helping neighbors.” - Governor Haley

I understand that EVERYONE in the state is calling and wanting to help! SC's Emergency Management Division (EMD) website says where to donate time, goods. http://www.scemd.org/recovery-section/donations-and-volunteers and they emphasize to make your item purchases, donations, and volunteer work as local as possible. Here are some photos of water donations to Columbia.

Water donation form nearby York County, SC

Water donation from Bluffton, SC near Hilton Head

Water donation from a parachurch organization.

Yes, I know. The Chinook helicopter, the excavator, the police cars, the fire trucks, the asphalt, the national guard vehicles. the plastic for the water bottles. Oil. Glad it's still cheap enough to fix things, for now. But let's be honest: they could boil the water to kill pathogens and a lot of this could be done over time with human labor and shovels and some creativity (the Old Mill and the Columbia Canal are not exactly the Pyramids.) What thrills me is the attitude of the people here. Like I said yesterday, community matters.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1192
Happy that the community

is doing as well as it is. Yawl are in our thoughts and prayers. Prayers are easy from 300' above sea level.

robie. may every loved mare be settled.

 

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Mosquitoes

It looks as though you are going to have a mosquito problem. 

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Posts: 2247
Glad water's going down, Wendy!

Wendy, I'm glad to hear that the water level is going down.  It's incredible to see the damage it's done.

Mark, your comments about these extreme weather occurrences becoming the new normal as the result of climate change is sobering...  We have many more extreme wind events (tornados, microbursts) in my area in the NE than we ever used to have growing up.   It's not "proof", but it does seem  consistent with what you're saying.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1988
#SCStrong progress report: Oct 7 roundup

(Compiled yesterday  evening)

Our recent flood waters followed gravity and went seaward.  Many communities along the Black River and Santee River were flooded, east of us in the Piedmont and the Lowlands. They are at flood stage if these rivers rise 10 feet. They rose 20 feet.

With photos I have video clips today.

Here is a quick drone video on a local newscast of Damage to the Orangeburg, SC area. Orangeburg is 60 miles east of us toward Charleston, and 100-ft closer to sea level. Sceenshots:

Next, Kingstree, SC is about an hour and a half dead east of Columbia and it's on the Black River. http://www.abcnews4.com/story/30201619/town-of-kingstree-shut-down-isolated-by-floodwaters-of-black-river#.VhUPsYJa2k8.facebook
KINGSTREE (Black River) KINGSTREE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation for homes in Kingstree impacted by the floodwaters after a weekend of record rainfall. So far, first responders say they've had to rescue more than 40 people.

And here is a news bulletin for people off the Santee River:

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. — The past several days of extreme rainfall throughout South Carolina have caused increased inflows to the Santee Cooper Lakes system, resulting in spilling operations on Lake Marion.

Santee and Black Rivers: Williamsburg County, SC, Officials Ask Residents to Voluntarily Evacuate.
Officials on Wednesday morning said they would be conducting evacuation efforts and asked residents living south of the rivers to voluntarily evacuate due to the possibility of flooding. Williamsburg County public Safety along with the South Carolina Armv National Guard will be conducting evacuation
efforts in the Andrews area of Williamsburg County, and the Lane area of Williamsburg County.

All citizens wanting to evacuate need to bring their own bedding, and personal hygiene items due to limited supplies.

All citizens needing assistance to leave their homes, please call 843-354-0790 or 843-354-0805.

***

So, as you can see, Wednesday the crisis was far from over east of us.

Local Recovery Efforts.

Our church and other churches and organizations are coordinating supply efforts. We have new pillows, socks and other things on the list to donate they are picking up tomorrow morning. We're bringing more to church on Sunday, too.

Some aerial screenshots of the National Guard repairing a threatened riverfront area in Columbia:

That shadow in the middle is of the Chinook helicopter carrying huge sandbags

As far as the local area, I had an errand in nextdoor Columbia (which required using the SC DOT website to see which roads were open) and even though I passed a large church parking lot with a big water distribution operation in full swing, I forgot was was in the city limits and tried to get lunch somewhere. (Easy to forget. There are places with farms and dirt roads inside the Columbia city limits; it's not NYC.) They had no beverages. Not even bottled water. A city of 133K+ people with no drinking water

Also local, Lexington County School District One canceled school and extracurricular activities. "... although the roads are improving, it is prudent to wait at least another day before resuming school."

Lastly, here is the sort of messages you see. Remember the Lexington Old Mill?

"Opportunity to Serve Today - Old Mill (Watershed Fellowship)

We are serving today at the Old Mill with The Watershed Fellowship. Here are
some details:

10:00-4:00 (This is a time change per The Watershed Fellowship)

• Adults and Teens (6th grade and up) only due to the type of work.
• Bring masks and gloves and box cutters. It would be great to have an
experienced carpenter type for each zone. So let us know as you arrive.
• We will be cutting Sheetrock, bagging it and piling it in each zone (5
zones).
• We will be pulling carpet in a couple rooms and wet vacuuming.
• We will be hauling all the debris once dumpsters are emptied.
• The back area will need some experienced guys since they will be cutting
down a couple trees.

If you have any questions, please contact Shawn Crews (803-968-5707) as he
will be acting as the RADIUS Site Coordinator for the Old Mill today.

Again, community.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
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Posts: 3107
11 Trillion Gallons Of Water In 1 Week!

Here's a tally of the mind-boggling volume of water that has fallen on SC in the past week.

From USA Today:

11 trillion gallons of water fell in the Carolinas in the past week

The unrelenting heavy rainfall that soaked the Carolinas in the past week amounted to roughly 11 trillion gallons — enough to end the drought in California.

The article comes with an infographic that helps visualize that stunning amount:

Those of us living on the West Coast have watched the carnage in South Carolina with sadness -- as well as wishing we could divert the excess rainfall out here where it is sorely needed.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Anti-fragile net.

I wonder how they manage to keep the internet going? Oh. That's right . Resiliency is the hallmark of the net.
It is a good thing that it will take more than a flood to knock it out. It will still need power to keep functioning. Scratch one up for photocells. 

Will someone please Listen to me about the advantages of solar powered airships? Probably not.

The Hindenburg could carry 100 tons on it's belly, and land on water. (The flames that everyone keeps freaking out about were caused by our old friend,  thermite. Engineers had painted it on to suppress super heating. Thermite is made from aluminium powder, light and very reflective. Ideal paint,  no? )

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
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Posts: 403
So that is where that third

So that is where that 1/3 of lake Tahoe has gone...

 

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
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Posts: 403
Awful flooding

Thanks for sharing those photos Wendy. That truck picture is very impressive. Best.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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Posts: 854
Global warming does not mean higher temperatures

Mark Cochrane, please correct me if I appear to be wrong, but...

...when I think warming, I think thermodynamic heat transfer and system change, not higher temperatures.

Indeed, in an ideal Carnot engine (impossibly efficient), and to a lesser extent in a heat pump, the warming occurs at a nearly constant temperature. The next phase, compression, is where things get really hot.

In the same way, global warming might -- and in the ocean plumes supposedly does -- result in temperature change, but the real big effect is in system changes. That is, melting glaciers, a change in the gulf stream salinity, the rate of hurricane, tornado, and (for all I know) maybe even volcano and tectonic events. Whether a certain area gets warmer or colder may vary; but huge fractions of the world change significantly, somehow.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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Posts: 854
For drinking water

Okay, for drinking water, first make a sand-and-clay filter (egyptian filter). I'd suggest doing that in a church coffee urn.Then from the outflow of that, run it into an open fish tank from which you draw from the top -- throw it away -- and the bottom -- throw it away -- and the usable middle.

Then from that, run it through coffee filters into your "potable water tank". Fill the tank, and then add sodium hypochlorite to make 5 ppm (from a non-scented bleach that is labeled. Let it sit two hours, and then you can use it.

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2247
An "Adam" sighting!!

How exciting!!  ;)  We haven't seen that much of you around here, lately; I figured you must be busy with the new book! 

11 trillion gallons of water is mind-boggling!  -Enough to end the California drought?!!  I can't even get my head around that!  -Tho' the "130,370 Rose Bowls Filled To The Top" helps...  Kind of ironic when you think about Chris's illustration of the exponential function in the Crash Course: how long would it take to fill up a stadium if you start with a drop of a water in your hand, and keep doubling that every I-forgot-how-long-units-of-time...

 

 

 

Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
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Posts: 1227
See the link

Michael,

I answered your post over on the Climate Change thread.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/185710#comment-185710

Mark

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1988
#SCStrong progress report: Oct 8 roundup

Locally:

Debris pickup has begun,in Richland County (Columbia) and in Lexington County.

Nine neighborhood dams have failed in the Columbia area, more than half of the state total.
About 70 dams in the state are still under observation, including three in Richland County.

Thank God the Lake Murray Dam is fine, but it's a well-engineered dam. Here is the spillway. At one point 3 1/2 our of four gates were open:

The midnight-to-6 a.m. curfews in Columbia continue through Monday morning but not here in Lexington. Assessments of roads to be repaired are underway and will take weeks before repairs start.
Some repair work will take months. Richland County officials said they have requested 35 temporary bridges. I could show you more photos of washed out roads but you get the idea.

For some reason, the above road is still closed.

Cleanup of flooded homes continues.

Cleanup of flooded homes continues.

Cleanup of flooded homes continues.

Cleanup of flooded homes continues.

Still no drinking water in the city of Columbia. Water stations are set up all over town.

Still no drinking water in the city of Columbia. Water stations are set up all over town.

Still no drinking water in the city of Columbia. Water stations are set up all over town.

The water treatment plant got its water form the breached Columbia Canal. The National Guard is making great headway repairing it. They currently are pumping untreated river water with a "boil water" advisory" and so far no one has gotten sick.

Now, for across the state.  Anyone near a river or stream got hit, but it dissipated a bit every day (Wed,. 10 ft in the Piedmont, Thursday 4-5-ft in the Lowcountry,  By the time the storm water made it back out to the Atlantic today it re-flooded a few streets near Charleston with 1-2 ft of water at high tide. It's done. But the cleanup just started there and the damage assessments are pouring in. 

Drowned soybean field.

They estimate $300 million in crop losses cross the state.

In the Lowcountry, Boeing announced it will donate 100-thousand-dollars to storm relief efforts via the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC region. (Boeing employs about 7,500 people in SC.)

I'll bet this Lowcountry resident was glad his trailer was up on blocks.
 
Lowcountry: Edisto River flooding in Ridgeville SC
 
I will put up progress reports on the recovery,  as needed, at least once a week.
 
Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
As promised, progress report SC Flood Recovery

Last Sunday I went to a theater in Columbia to see the new movie, The Martian (hey, I am a scifi writer and editor, it was kind of mandatory) and they were managing with bottled drinks and the toilets and sinks in the bathroom at least had river water. Now, after two weeks of boil-water advisories, the canal is repaired and the water treatment facility is at 100%. So the drinking water was flowing again in the city of Columbia as of Thursday morning.

Above is a shot of a local restaurant chain, Lizard's Thicket. It was impossible to make their famous sweet tea without water.

Our local CSA, City Roots, took a major hit. $40K worth of damage from 20% of their crops for the year - gone. There are using the money from their November Farm-to-Table event to rebuild.

Road damage. There are traffic jams on the few open roads to some locations. On my way to the hardware store, for example, I saw a washout on Old Barnwell Rd. that made commuters on their way home wait a mile to turn left at a 4-way stops sign. Repair cost estimates will not be complete until Thanksgiving. Road and bridge repairs will take months. At least the washout on our cross street Jessamine Rd. has been  repaired and the road is reopened, but washouts of nearby Woodbury Rd. and Cromer Rd. are not yet fixed. My husband, who does building information services maintenance (fire, security, HVAC) had to visit three clients. Two were in the Piedmont and one was in downtown Columbia SC: all had varying degrees of minor damage. Mostly, they saw what was coming and took precautions and he had backups all of them. They are all up and running today. He could not get to the one in downtown until he dealt with situations at the electric company and a jail. Getting there meant detouring around a lot of closed roads.

Cleanup of flooded homes and businesses. Here are some pictures.

 

My step-daughter's place of work was flooded and she's been driving way out of her normal way to get there due to closed roads. We are taking her with us on a trip to see my in-laws, her grandparents, and we'll be picking her up after she's walked across a bridge that cannot handle vehicular traffic.

Technology. There are interesting uses of technology being used in the recovery. Not just the drones doing aerial assessments. Not only social media calls for things like soap and shampoo to a drop off location at the local police station, but online services like Take Them a Meal. Example: two families in our church lost everything, and the church secretary is coordinating a Take Them a Meal campaign, letting the email list of members know which dates still need meals and sending us back the family name and password, where you can see what everyone else is bringing (so they don't get fried chicken several days in a row.). There was a public service bulletin to every phone number in the affected area codes, including cell phones, telling you how to apply for insurance reimbursement and to FEMA.

 

Today there was an event called Team South Carolina Day in Sumter, SC where residents could:

  • Register for financial assistance from FEMA
  • Apply for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Learn more about repairing and flood proofing their home from FEMA
  • Apply for unemployment benefits from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce
  • Apply for food and financial assistance from the S.C. Department of Social Services
  • Apply for mortgage or rent assistance from the S.C. Housing Authority and REALTORS
  • Get information about mental health and other healthcare services from the S.C. Department of Mental Health and the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Get help with insurance claims from the S.C. Department of Insurance
  • Receive a free kit to test well water from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Receive a free tetanus shot from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Register to volunteer in their community with the United Way
  • Get a free clean-up kit from the Red Cross
  • Donate items needed by their neighbors through Sumter United Ministries

 

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
sc flood recovery update

As we've been out and about we've seen more of the damage from the historic flood:

  • An entrance to a mall parking lot (vehicle and pedestrian bridges) is so severely undermined that that part part of the parking lot is completely closed and a good part of the asphalt is gone. Estimated cost to repair, over $80K. This is not a successful mall. It may never get fixed and the mall may close.
  • Stores and restaurants on the commercial street near that mall have their doors empty and their inventory was swept into nearby wooded areas, or is unsalvageable. We saw one small house swept off its foundation and downstream of what is now a small creek.
  • LOTS of creeks with large trees swept downstream in now-dry logjams.
  • One of the routes to my husband's main client, an major road,  is lined with ruined furniture from people's homes, mostly mattresses, couches, and carpeting.
  •  

Last time I gave you photos of the flooded homes being cleared out. Here are some photos of the flooded businesses.

Some will be reopening:

Some MAY reopen,

Some won't.

Meanwhile, our sister state NC helps with the flood like we have helped each other in droughts and ice storms and hurricanes and tornados. This is The Carolinas, not North Carolina or South Carolina - if you live here, it's all just "The Carolinas."

Our local newscast did a 13-hour marathon for the main food bank in Columbia, which helped so many and needed to restock for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a roaring success.

And look what's back!

The Old Mill Dam needs repairs but the big symbol of downtown is back in business. My favorite used bookstore, ironically named Rainy Day Books, is in the Old Mill and has moved upstairs.  I'm bringing them donations of used books to sell.

The map below not only give you the road and bridge closures, it shows where the damage was, and the estimated dates of completion.

We've observed they are ahead of schedule on the repairs. All of the Oct 31 estimated repairs are done in our area, and one of the November bridge washouts is already fixed. But many major roads and bridges are still under repair.

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