Hundreds were rescued from fast-moving floodwaters Sunday in South Carolina as days of driving rain hit a dangerous crescendo that buckled buildings and roads, closed a major East Coast interstate route, and threatened the drinking water supply for the capital city. The powerful rainstorm dumped more than a foot of rain overnight on Columbia, swamping hundreds of businesses and homes. Emergency workers waded into waist-deep water to help people trapped in cars, dozens of boats fanned out to rescue others in flooded neighborhoods, and some were plucked from rooftops by helicopters. More door-to-door search operations are planned for Monday. Gov. Nikki Haley said more than 750 rescue calls were placed in a 12-hour-period on Sunday, reports USA Today.
One death was reported in the area on Sunday, bringing weather-related deaths to seven since the storm began days earlier. People were told to stay off roads and remain indoors until floodwaters recede, and an overnight curfew was issued for Columbia and across two surrounding counties. With so much water, officials said it could take weeks or even months to assess every road and bridge that's been closed around the state. Several interstates around Columbia are closed, and so is a 75-mile stretch of Interstate 95 that is a key route connecting Miami to Washington, DC and New York. "We haven't seen this level of rain in the low country in 1,000 years. That's how big this is," Haley said on Sunday. She urged residents to stay away from the deep water because "it's got bacteria in it," reports the BBC.