Historic downpours slammed South Carolina over the weekend as hurricane Joaquin moved off-shore.
Multiple dams breached on Sunday morning and 100 people remain trapped in their homes as emergency crews go door to door to rescue residents from the flood waters.
According to The Weather Channel, the city of Columbia observed 7.77 inches of rain in just 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday morning — a new record. Officials are declaring that some parts of South Carolina have experienced a 1,000-year rain event, which means that there’s only a 1 in 1,000 chance that rains of this magnitude could happen in a given year.
And as if the water-logged residents haven’t been through enough, officials warned residents of something else to watch out for in the flood waters, meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted Sunday evening:
In case you missed that line at the bottom, alligators and snakes displaced by the rains may be lurking in the flood waters.
While there haven’t been any official reports of dangerous reptiles wading through flooded streets, plenty of hoaxes have found their way onto the web. Back in August, reports of an alligator swimming through a flooded street in Charleston seems instead to have been an “alligator-like log.”
But according to the blog Living Alongside Wildlife, curated by wildlife ecologist David Steen, the threat of an errant alligator is still possible given their close proximity to South Carolina.
“Alligators are known to occasionally wander into neighbourhoods, even in urban areas like Charleston,” Adam Rosenblatt, an ecologist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, told Steen. “Given this neighbourhood’s close proximity to the Ashley River, which is well within the alligator’s South Carolina distribution, it is certainly possible for an alligator to swim into an adjacent neighbourhood, especially if high water levels from a hurricane or tropical depression allowed for easier access.”
Snakes are perhaps more of a likely threat. They have been known to hide out in the hoods of cars and seek refuge in homes during heavy rains and flooding, like they did after flooding in Texas in May.
“Snakes (along with everything else) are likely to be influenced by the flooding and you may see more of them now,” Steen said in a recent blog post about this weekend’s flooding in South Carolina. “They have always been around though. Again, don’t touch them.”
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