October 2015 – SOUTH CAROLINA – About 22 million Americans along the East Coast were under flood watches Saturday as a “once in 200 year’s rainfall event” began hammering the Carolinas with heavy rains — and the worst was yet to come. South Carolina could get more rain in three days than it normally does during the entire fall, The Associated Press reported. Saturday was the third consecutive day of a relentless onslaught of rain, with a plume of precipitation expected to last through the weekend and only begin to taper off Monday. Waterlogged Charleston, South Carolina, received 6 inches of rain over a period of 12 to 18 hours, NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said on MSNBC, adding that people there were paddle-boarding through the city. Flash flood warnings were issued for downtown Charleston.
“A lot more damage is still yet to be done,” he warned. “The rivers are going to be a problem in this area for days to come.” President Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and ordered federal aid for the Palmetto state. With a tide of 8.2 feet, water levels in Charleston were the highest they had been since 2009. North of Myrtle Beach, residents received 16 inches of rain. A whopping 2 feet of rain threatened other areas in the state.
North Carolina officials reported about 10,000 power outages in the state mid-afternoon Saturday. So far, one North Carolina resident had been killed in the weather: A woman driving on Interstate 95 died when a tree fell on her car Thursday. In South Carolina, more than 4,700 power outages were reported. “We’re more concerned about what could happen tonight if there’s another wave,’ Greenville, South Carolina, Mayor Knox White told NBC News. “If it gets worse, that could be another story.”
But the Carolinas have been getting the brunt of the nasty weather, which forecasters said could have been exacerbated if Hurricane Joaquin made landfall in the U.S. as initially anticipated. Joaquin, a re-strengthening Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, battered the Bahamas but was moving out to sea Saturday. Karins said the National Weather Service was referring to the historic drenching in South Carolina this weekend as a “once in 200 years rainfall event” — and it had the potential to be as bad as any likely to occur every 500 years. The NWS added that “record rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding” were possible through Sunday. Up to 15 inches of rain was possible in some parts of the Carolinas, forecasters warned. –NBC