By Sue Sturgis
8 October 2015
(Facing South) – South Carolina continues to assess the damage from the historic rains that fell between Friday and Monday and dumped as much as 20 inches of rain in some parts of the state. At least 16 people were killed and more than a dozen dams breached in the state so far, with the flooding causing an estimated $1 billion in damage. The flood threat is expected to last through the coming weekend as the water makes its way downstream.
During a Sunday press conference, Gov. Nikki Haley noted the rarity of such a rain event, which was caused by a stalled front that drew moisture from an offshore hurricane.
"We are at a 1,000-year level of rain," Haley said, referring to the 0.1 percent or 1-in-1,000 chance that a rainfall of such intensity will happen in a given year. "That's how big this is."
Unfortunately, such intense rains are happening far more frequently nowadays than once every millennium. Other recent 1-in-1,000 rain events took place in Tennessee in May 2010; across the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England in 2011; in Colorado in 2013; in Baltimore in 2014; and earlier this year in Nebraska, as USA Today reports. […]
Haley's administration has tried to squelch discussion of climate change. Back in 2013, The State newspaper of Columbia obtained a copy of a report on global warming that the S.C. Department of Natural Resources under Haley had kept secret for more than a year due to political pressure. Agency officials said the report was not released because their "priorities" changed. [more]