Coastal counties warned of rising water
Columbia, SC - South Carolina Emergency Management officials are warning residents in four coastal counties to stay alert for possible evacuation orders near two rising rivers.
Floodwaters are rising near the Waccamaw and Edisto rivers as water from the massive rainstorms move from the middle section of South Carolina toward the coast.
Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker said Thursday that people in parts of Dorchester, Charleston, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties should listen to their county emergency managers for the latest updates.
Becker tells the Associated Press, "It will be based on ongoing conditions. People are not out of harm's way."
Becker says evacuation orders would depend on how close people may be to rising river waters.
During a briefing in Columbia earlier Wednesday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said the central area of the state is recovering as flood waters recede, but officials are keeping a close eye on the southeastern portion.
Haley also said 62 dams across the state are being monitored and that 13 had already failed.
Authorities said the death toll in South Carolina has risen to 19, as they've discovered two contractors have died while responding to the flooding.
Authorities say the two men killed in South Carolina when the pickup truck they were in drove around a barricade and off a washed out road into the water were out-of-state contractors working to check damaged railroad tracks.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said divers found the bodies of 58-year-old Robert Vance of Lexington, Kentucky, and 53-year-old Ricky McDonald of Chesapeake, Ohio, on Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies say five men were in the truck when it drove around a barricade around 3 a.m. Wednesday and hit a 20-foot section of road that had been washed out, plunging into the floodwaters below. The other three men swam to safety.
Watts had previously said that the body of 30-year-old Sampson Pringle was recovered from a lake on Tuesday morning. Watts says there had been flooding in the area where Pringle's body was recovered.
Watts did not say how Pringle died. Pringle's vehicle was found on Monday, and his family reported him missing.
Another victim, 82-year-old Richard Nelson Milroy, of Columbia, was found in a car near downtown late Monday, Watts says,
The Department of Public Safety says that eight people have drowned in South Carolina and six people died in traffic accidents. Two other people were killed in North Carolina.
Six of the deaths were in Richland County, South Carolina, where many areas surrounding the capital city of Columbia have battled record water levels.
At a news conference Tuesday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley reminded drivers to stay off flooded roadways and to not move barriers.
She said officials are still assessing the damage and trying to get roads and bridges repaired. Haley says she doesn't have a dollar amount right now for the damage done by the historic rains and flooding in the state.
"We're not going to stop until we need everything we need to get back up and running and fixed again," she said.
She said the disaster "could be any amount of dollars."
Haley says God has smiled on the state in the form of sunshine, but she warns residents not to become complacent because several rivers have still not crested after the historic rains.
She said Tuesday that the state has officials on the ground in different areas watching and reporting about the water and rivers "minute by minute."
Officials in Richland County say they've gotten reports that caskets are popping out of grounds swollen from days of historic rainfall.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts would not say Wednesday where caskets have surfaced but said officials would work to relocate them.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says it is monitoring cemetery flooding across the state and is surveying cemetery operators to assess their needs.
Public Safety says its officers have responded to more than 4,300 calls for service, including more than 1,800 collisions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report