The Latest: Obama Signs Disaster Declaration

South Carolina deadly flooding
Posted at 11:49 PM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-05 19:56:16-04

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The latest on the rainstorm that is pounding parts of the East Coast (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration, ordering federal aid to help recovery efforts in South Carolina.

The president's action on Monday makes federal funding available to people in Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Williamsburg counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.


6:45 p.m.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is speaking on the Senate floor about the devastating rain and flooding that have hit his state.

Graham said Monday that everything bad that could happen had occurred with record rain and "the worst of nature."

Graham said he was in Charleston this past weekend and he had never seen anything like it.

He said 2015 has been a miserable year for the state, a reference to the Charleston church shooting in June that left nine dead and the past days flooding.

He says his state will be judicious when asking for federal aid after floodwaters recede.


6 p.m.

John Shelton of the U.S. Geological Survey says flooding can be a concern for any urban area, with an abundance of concrete covering soil that would otherwise act as a sponge for excessive rains.

But the multitude of waterways in Columbia also makes the city a prime target for flooding, as rainwater seeking to flow into a creek or river gets waylaid on the city's roadways.

Shelton says Columbia has the benefit or the detriment of being right in the center of three major rivers, with the Broad and the Saluda coming together and forming the Congaree, and those running right through the middle of town. He says the rivers help act as drains.

Shelton has been with the agency for more than two decades and serves as the chief of its hydrologic monitoring in South Carolina. He says the state has received six months' worth of rain in two days.