SC Flood

FEMA Grant to Repair Flood-Wrecked Columbia Canal

Oct 15, 2020
The empty Columbia Canal has no water to feed to its hydroelectric power station, which also was damaged by the 2015 flood.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Five years ago, the biggest flood in memory wreaked havoc on the Midlands when about 20 inches of rain fell in the area Oct. 4, 2015.  The so-called "thousand-year rain" broke dams, swelled creeks to overflowing  and flooded hundreds of homes and businesses, and some people have yet to fully recover from that event.

Flood water inundated the Four Paws Animal Clinic Oct. 4, 2015.  The swollen waters of Gills Creek filled the building to the ceiling, forcing the business to find new headquarters.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

This weekend may bring back painful memories to many Midlands residents who survived the biggest flood the state has seen in memory, which climaxed on Oct. 4, 2015.  What officials called a "thousand year rain" dumped about 20 inches of rain on the region in one day.  Filled to overflowing by that rain, ponds throughout the area broke their dams and added their waters to already swollen rivers and streams like Gills Creek, which crosses - and destroyed - three major traffic arteries in the capital city.

Coming Home to Conway after the Flood

Oct 5, 2018
Bill and Diane Parker sit outside their flood ravaged home in Conway.
Victoria Hansen

Two weeks after the president visited their neighborhood in Conway, Bill and Diane Parker sit on a sofa in their front yard, surrounded by furniture.  They’ve just come home for the first time since Hurricane Florence’s flood waters ravaged their Sherwood community, east of downtown.  The damage is worse than they imagined.

“I would lie in bed at night and think about each room,” Diane Parker said.  “What did I leave?  What’s there that is possibly going to be ruined”.

Popular State Park Reopens after Hurricane Damage

Apr 25, 2018
Hunting Island State Park Campground area.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

There’s a stop sign for campers pulling into Hunting Island State Park.  But visitors have likely slowed down long before.  The island has been closed for nearly two years following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.  To the right of the entrance, campers once enjoyed breath taking beachside views.  Now storm damage takes their breath away.

The Williamsburg Regional Hospital's building in Kingstree was irreparably damaged during the 2015 floods.
Laura Hunsberger

For more than a year, the Williamsburg Regional Hospital has been serving patients from a temporary facility located right next to their old building. The hospital was damaged beyond repair during the thousand-year floods. Eventually, the hospital determined that they had to move out of the old building.

Parking Outside Richland County Administration Building May 15.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Day two of intakes for Richland County’s homeowner flood recovery program brought in almost half the number of registrations that county will accept. Around Midday Tuesday, the county had accepted ‘just shy of 300” registrations, that’s according to Public Information Coordinator Natasha Lemon.

The county was expecting a large influx of residents on day one of intakes. South Carolina Public Radio spoke with the County’s long-term disaster recovery director Mike King at Noon; he said there was more of a steady stream.

Residents affected by the historic October 2015 floods are encouraged to attend one of six public meetings Richland County will hold May 1 - May 11. Residents will receive information about housing rehabilitation and mobile home replacement assistance during this series of community meetings, which are being held in advance of the registration intake process scheduled to begin May 15. Click here for more information and a list of meetings.

Two portable buildings, previously used as office space, are being used as classrooms for Harmony School's preschool and kindergarten program.
Laura Hunsberger

As the end of the 2016-17 school year approaches, South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger visited Harmony School in Forest Acres to find out how they are doing, now more than a year and a half after damage from the historic floods closed their preschool building.

Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery staff join Keoashaws Brewer and her family for a ribbon cutting ceremony as part of their "Welcome Home" celebration.
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio


Laura Hunsberger recently spoke with Marilyn Gray, Midlands District Chair of the St. Vincent de Paul South Carolina Disaster Relief Program, and Dr. Lisabeth Medlock, Founder and Director of the Palmetto Project Community Flood Hub. Over the past year, Hunsberger has been following their work to provide furniture to families affected by the 2015 floods. In this interview, Gray and Medlock explain how their organizations, along with other community partners, developed a streamlined furniture distribution program.

Rainfall from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 flooded the street and homes in the Pepperhill neighborhood.
Alexandra Olgin/SC Public Radio

Amy Knoch recently moved back into her house. When I visited, she was weaving through a maze of Rubbermaid bins that were stacked in her living room. .

Knoch lifted the lid of one box full of office supplies and the next her child’s toys.

“It’s like an organized version of a hoarder’s house,” she said. “Everything is in bins based on what room it came out of but you have pathways between all of the rooms.”  

She and her family lived in an apartment for three months after flooding from Hurricane Matthew damaged her home.  

Narrative: Family Rescued by Boat from Historic Floods

Dec 21, 2016

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. Recently, Columbia resident Beki Gettys and her eleven-year-old son Eli sat down to talk about the 2015 floods.

Fort Jackson VolunTEENS Serve in the Midlands

Dec 19, 2016
Mary Reardon

VolunTEENS is school-year programs connecting students with the Red Cross. Based in the Fort Jackson community, the group promotes the Red Cross mission through service projects, such as supporting the South Carolina Special Olympics, public education initiatives about health or fire safety, and disaster recovery. For example, their November event was to help the Red Cross clean, inspect, and pack away the cots used in the shelters during Hurricane Matthew. After the October floods in 2015, the VolunTEENS came out for multiple days of service in the Midlands.

Residents Begin Cleanup After Hurricane Matthew

Oct 10, 2016
Streets in downtown Charleston near the Battery were flooded and strewn with debris after Hurricane Matthew.
Alexandra Olgin/SC Public Radio

I trudged through knee high murky brown water to get to Amy Knoch house in Pepperhill a neighborhood in North Charleston, about 20 miles inland.

“My house had about 14 and change inches of water in it,” She said.

Knoch was standing, staring at her home in shock. Almost exactly one year after her house was destroyed by flooding the first time.

A Rare Story About How the Flood Actually Did Some Good

Aug 31, 2016
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

After October's flood, there was a decrease in attendance at Congaree National Park. The park's Chief Interpreter Scott Teodorski said the timing of the flood, and not necessarily it's size, can explain the decrease.

But flooding is not a rare occurrence at Congaree National Park. Waters from the adjacent Congaree and Wateree rivers periodically sweep through the park’s floodplain. Park officials say this is a good thing.

Janey Heath standing in her backyard
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

In Lexington County, Kinley Creek starts north of Highway 60 and ends in the Saluda River. The path of the creek runs behind several houses in the Challedon community. Long-time residents say during heavy rains, rushing waters enter their homes and erode their yards. These residents say they’ve dealt with flooding since the late 1990s and are ready for a permanent solution. Thelisha Eaddy reports on how the county could use disaster recovery funds from the historic flood of October of 2015, to help these residents solve their flooding issues for good.