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After four dry days, rain returned to South Carolina Saturday — but not in the record-breaking amounts seen last week that caused devastating floods and left nearly 20 people dead.
Thunderstorms in the capital of Columbia made it difficult if not impossible Saturday for residents who were evacuated to get back home, and the national weather service warned that the storm was moving toward Charleston with heavy winds.
However, by midmorning, there were no reports of major problems caused by the additional precipitation, and after the weekend, forecasters predict several more dry days.
“This is one to two inches — it’s not convenient but it’s not anywhere near where we were,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “This is an ant hill in the road compared to what we’ve been through.”
Haley still warned people not to drive, as the additional rain could affect roads that were already damaged by the unprecedented flooding. Haley encouraged water-weary South Carolina residents “to stay home and watch football and not get out on the roads.”
A full week after the historic rainfall began, more than 300 roads and bridges throughout the state remained closed, and more than 100 dams were being monitored on top of the 20 that had already breached.
Haley said Saturday that the death toll on account of the floods had risen to 19.
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“Next week will be better than this week. Next month will be better than this month,” Haley said, repeating a mantra that she has used several times while giving updates on the wide array of flood-related destruction throughout the state. “Next year will be a total celebration,” she added.
Haley said FEMA had already approved $7 million for the state, and she was heartened by donations from companies like Walmart, which gave $500,000.
In Columbia, officials were also encouraged by acts of generosity, but warned that tempers were flaring in some places. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said he was infuriated because his deputies had to investigate a state guardsman directing traffic at a food bank intentionally struck by an impatient driver. The guardsman broke his wrist and rib but was expected to survive.