October 6th, 2015

U.S. South Carolina Flooding

Posted at 6:51 AM ET

scflooding-10-5-15-smTorrential rainfall in South Carolina led to catastrophic flooding throughout the state over the weekend, claiming the lives of at least nine people. Large swaths of the state have experienced over 20 inches of rain in the past week with another two to six inches forecasted through Monday, according to the state climatologist. 

Precipitation records have been broken across several parts of South Carolina. Governor Nikki Haley has called this a 1,000-year event for the state, according to media reports. Heavy rains flooded highways and caused major road closures along the South Carolina coast between Charleston and Georgetown. Response and recovery efforts are ongoing with both state and federal support. It will take some time to fully assess the scope and severity of impacts of this event and our first thoughts are with those lost and directly affected. 


Radar estimated seven-day precipitation amounts ending 12 UTC October 5. Source: NOAA/NWS 

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or GC Analytics® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

Meteorological Conditions 

A complex and slow-moving frontal system produced excessive rainfall amounts over the Carolinas this weekend. Circulation with the frontal system together with abundant moisture allowed bands of heavy rain to remain in place over the area for prolonged periods of time. Rainfall amounts exceeded 10 inches over very widespread areas with large swaths of South Carolina experiencing over 20 inches of rain in the last seven days. Widespread flooding and flash flooding remain a significant concern for affected areas including Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina. Historic river peaks have been observed both on the Congaree River and many of the smaller rivers around Columbia, South Carolina. 


Media reports indicate at least nine fatalities due to weather-related incidents. Hundreds of rescue efforts have been carried out and are still underway for those trapped in their homes due to rising water.  

In Columbia, South Carolina, authorities were carrying out emergency response efforts for residents trapped inside their homes. Residents of the city were advised to boil drinking water due to water line breaks. Curfews were imposed in the city and classes were cancelled for Monday according to reports. 

In Charleston, media reports indicate public schools and government offices were closed Monday.  At least 30 streets and intersections in the city were closed due to flooding. 

State officials have urged residents to stay off the roads due to dangerous conditions. Hundreds of weather-related accidents as a result of collisions and roadway flooding have been reported. Nearly 400 roads and over 100 bridges were closed, according to the governor.  Reports also indicate a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 95 closed due to inundation. 

Nearly 30,000 homes were without power and over 900 people were staying at shelters, according to officials. 

The storm also affected Georgia, where more than 14,000 customers were without power early Monday. In Maryland, 14 people were rescued after flooding from the Patuxent River inundated a mobile home park. 

Sources: U.S. National Weather Service, Reuters, Associated Press

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Guy Carpenter publishes CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Guy Carpenter compiles RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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