SC Devastated Yet Again as 18 Dams Let Loose
Governor says it may just be start of crisis after 'storm of historic proportions'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2015 9:23 AM CDT
A pastor went into the floodwaters to retrieve a casket that floated by in Ridgeville, SC.   (Twitter/@mattalbaWCBD)
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(Newser) – Eleven deaths have been reported and at least 18 South Carolina dams have breached or failed completely since Saturday, per the state's emergency management agency, leaving the region reeling in the aftermath of its torrential weekend storm, CNN reports. Of the 11 deaths, seven were from drowning and four from traffic accidents, the state Department of Public Safety reports; two additional deaths took place in North Carolina from traffic accidents, per that state's emergency management agency. Bridges have also collapsed, more than 500 roads have been severely damage, and tens of thousands are still without drinking water or power, per ABC News. Meanwhile, Columbia residents who had been evacuated returned to find their homes looted, and caskets from a Ridgeville cemetery floated away in the floodwaters, CNN notes.

A pastor being interviewed Monday by News 2 in Ridgeville temporarily halted his live chat to wade into the water and grab one of the caskets floating by. "That's somebody’s family out there," he told the station. "If that was my mama or my dad, I would walk through hell or high water … and today it happened to be high water." The flooding likely isn't over, either, with a CNN meteorologist noting that rivers may not even crest for another two weeks. "South Carolina has gone through a storm of historic proportions," Gov. Nikki Haley said, per ABC. "Just because the rain stops, does not mean that we are out of the woods." The mayor of Columbia agrees, telling CNN, "I believe that things will get worse before they get better. I anticipate that damage will probably be in the billions of dollars. … Some people's lives as they know them will never be the same."