South Carolina was slammed with historic downpours over the weekend as hurricane Joaquin drifted off-shore toward the Atlantic Ocean.
At least 17 people have died, according to the Associated Press, some of whom drowned while trying to wade through deep water in their cars.
Officials told residents to stay in their homes and out of the flood waters over the weekend and early this week, warning of the risk of drowning as well as the threat of displaced wildlife, such as alligators in snakes, that may be lurking in the waters.
Though the rains have stopped, dangers from the flooding are far from over. Officials told residents in Columbia, South Carolina to flee to higher ground Wednesday morning because the Beaver Dam at Pebble Creek was “about to break.” A breached dam would have sent a torrent of millions of gallons of water streaming through the town, The Weather Channel reports.
Luckily, the Beaver dam didn’t breach and is now secured, though 13 other dams throughout the state did and 65 more are being monitored.
To capture the extent of the devastation so far, Beau Chappell, a photographer for ActionNewsJax, obtained this aerial view of the flood waters in a community of homes in Columbia, South Carolina via drone.
Some homes in the footage can be seen just barely sitting above water, while others appear to be completely flooded.
“I believe that things will get worse before they get better,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin told The Weather Channel Monday. “Eventually the floods will abate, but then we have to assess the damage, and I anticipate that damage will probably be in the billions of dollars, and we’re going to have to work to rebuild. Some peoples’ lives as they know them will never be the same.”
Some 40,000 Columbia residents are without water, and for those who do have water, they are being told to vigorously boil their water before drinking it, due to potential bacterial contamination from broken water lines.
Life-threatening and damaging flooding has encumbered the entire state.
“It was coming in through the kitchen wall, through the bathroom walls, through the bedroom walls, through the living room walls. It was up over the sandbags that we put over the door. And, it just kept rising,” Tom Doran, a home owner in Georgetown, South Carolina told the Associated Press. “If I see a hoard of locusts then I’m taking off.”
About 800 people are currently spread across 24 shelters in the state, according to the Associated Press.
Watch the entire drone footage here:
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