South Carolina is still reeling eight weeks after historic flooding destroyed swaths of property across the state. Dubbed a 1,000-year flood for its probability of occurring once in 1,000 years, the disaster claimed 19 lives. In 48 hours the state’s hardest-hit areas saw approximately two feet of rain—about half of average annual rainfall totals.
While damage estimates by state agencies continue to roll in, the flood caused an estimated more than $2 billion in economic losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Here’s an overview of the flood by the numbers—
Natural disaster areas
After the flood the federal Agriculture Department designated these 29 counties (out of 46) as primary natural disaster areas—
Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chester, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillion, Dorchester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, Sumter and Williamsburg.
The state’s $41.7 billion agribusiness industry was among the hardest-hit industries. The state Agriculture Department told lawmakers in mid-November agribusiness lost $587 million in crops and wages. Crop losses totaled $329.8 million plus $46 million lost in crops that were prevented from being planted. The flooding impacted 3,500 jobs in the industry.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $14 million in rental assistance for more than 9,000 South Carolina households, according to a report by The State Newspaper.
Roads and bridges
Large sections of an already-battered infrastructure gave way. The flooding damaged 2,606 roads and bridges across Abbeville, Anderson, Calhoun, Charleston, Darlington, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Richland and Williamsburg counties, according to the South Carolina Association of Counties. Nine hundred and sixty-two roads and bridges were damaged in Lexington County, and 340 and 267 were damaged in Charleston and Richland counties, respectively. Preliminary estimates reveal damage to roadways in those three counties adds up to $19.7 million.
The Transportation Department has yet to release a finalized estimate in dollars for infrastructure damaged by the flood. The agency reported 541 road and bridge closures on Oct. 5 following the height of the flooding. That number had shrunk to 69 by Nov. 25.