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The South Carolina Drought Response Committee upgraded on August 17 drought conditions in 17 counties. All  46 counties are now in drought according to the State Drought Response Committee.
SC Department of Natural Resources

Even as some communities in the state continue to deal with the aftermath of last fall’s record flooding, all 46 South Carolina counties are now in a drought according to the official State Drought Response Committee.  The committee on August, 17, 2016 placed 39 counties in the “Incipient Drought” category, the first stage of drought.  Seven counties in the northwest corner of the state are in the “Moderate Drought” category, the second drought stage.

Nuisance Flooding In Charleston - The Not So New Normal

Aug 17, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

A guard unchains a locked metal fence topped with barbed wire at the edge of the cruise ship terminal in Charleston. In this protected area is a tide gauge made up of a hollow white PVC pipe connected to computer equipment. A gauge like this one has been measuring water levels in Charleston Harbor for nearly a century.

A Plan for Federal Funding in Lexington County

Aug 12, 2016
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

In early February, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded South Carolina $157 million in disaster recovery funds. Lexington County got $16.3 million or about a tenth of those funds.

Courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists

A recent study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group, shows parts of Parris Island could be underwater within 40 years if sea levels rise at projected levels. According to the report, with three feet of sea level rise nearly one half of the installation could would be exposed to flooding with each high tide.  

The Carolina Panthers practice at Wofford College.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

  Over 100,00 fans have already visited Spartanburg for this year's training camp providing a boost for Wofford and the City of Spartanburg .

Ward Marotti cuts through thick vegetation. Beneath him rest drain pipes that will be daylighted as part of the Northside Linear Park creek restoration.
Vince Kolb-Lugo/SC Public Radio

At first glance, Harvest Park doesn’t look like much. There’s a café and a farmers market. An urban farmer tends to some green plants growing in a small plot. At the end of the block, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine stands taller than the rest of the buildings. But they are all pieces in a long-term plan to transform a community.

Rachel Larratt stands among the wreckage in her community after the flood of October 4, 2015.
Courtesy of Rachel Larratt

In the South Beltline and Gills Creek area of Columbia, many homes were extensively damaged by last October's flood. Rachel Larratt, a survivor turned volunteer from this area, reflects on the water rising in her own home, as well as the deflated spirits of other survivors who are still struggling to recover from the disaster. 

A stream meanders through the dry, weed-choked bed of Cary Lake.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

  The rain of Oct. 4, 2015 is an event many  South Carolinians will never forget.  The historic rains broke many local dams in the state, especially in the Midlands.  Months later, as weed-choked craters represent what once were beautiful lakes, the property owners are beginning to decide how to recover.  

Austin Woods Apartment on Garners Ferry Road
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

The goal of the Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) is to provide affordable housing to low and moderate income people. Two programs allows CHA  to accomplish this goal: the Public Housing Program and the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) commonly referred to as Section 8.

Nancy Stoudenmire, CHA Director of Human Resources, Planning & Special Projects, tells SC Public Radio, the loss of 176 units of CHA housing, during the flood, is one factor affecting the availability of affordable housing in the area.

Bill Stangler
Bill Stangler

Since October's historic flood last year, there have been twenty sewage spills, overflows, or line breaks that released over 10,000 gallons of raw or under-treated sewage in Columbia. Those numbers were reported by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Columbia has dealt with sewage overflows for decades, as many other cities with outdated collection systems have, but October's historic flood shined a light on the continuous problem.

More Hands Needed To Rebuild Flood-Damaged Homes

Jul 26, 2016
voluteer messages on studs
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

Currently through the Midlands Flood Recovery Group, 16 rebuild projects are happening in Richland and Lexington Counties. The breakdown of that is: three in the City of Columbia, six in Richland County, and seven in Lexington County. This adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction work being done to flood-damaged homes at little to no cost to the homeowners. Volunteers working with nonprofits are getting the work done, but organizations say more hands are needed to continue the work.

Repair crews at work on the SC 9 Bridge over the Broad River.  Work on a new bridge is scheduled to begin in 2017.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Construction crews are busy with repairs to the bridge where SC Highway 9 crosses the Broad River between Chester and Union counties at the Town of Lockhart. The crumbling condition of the 70 year old bridge puts a new spotlight on the poor condition of the state’s roads and bridges. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon have funding for a new SC 9 bridge thanks to the state legislature which authorized a $4 Billion dollar, ten year roads spending plan during this year’s legislative session.

The Forest Acres Police Department was damaged in October's historic flood.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

  Not only were police in the Columbia suburb of Forest Acres helping the public with traffic detours and inundated autos and businesses after the historic flood of Oct. 4, 2015, they were dealing with their own flooded headquarters. In this story, we talk with Police Chief Gene Sealy and City Manager Mark Williams about the city’s hopes to move the police station, which was contaminated with sewage as part of the storm, to a new location out of the flood plain. Just some of the considerations include finding funding and land to build on.

A Neighborhood Built Not To Flood

Jul 22, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

Beaten Path Lane looks like a typical suburban neighborhood street. Houses with square green lawns and large oak trees line the street. But upon closer inspection one realizes the James Island development is missing curbs, sidewalks and gutters. Instead civil engineer Joshua Robinson says there are native juncus grass, cypress trees, beautyberry plants, frogs and dragonflies – all things you would find in a marsh.

Robinson designed this neighborhood a few years ago.

Roger Gilbertson
Roger Gilbertson

At the start of July, applications officially opened for the state Farm Aid program.  Farmers are now able to fill out their losses and submit them to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture for a limited reimbursement of their lost income from October's historic flood.  But, the process is confusing. Training workshops are being held around the state to help farmers better understand the process. Cooper McKim talks to farmers and experts about it.