South Carolina death toll rises to 16 as floodwaters persist

By Rich McKay COLUMBIA, S.C. (Reuters) - Residents in flood-ravaged South Carolina remained on alert Wednesday for more inundation from swollen rivers and vulnerable dams, while rescuers in one of the hardest hit areas found the body of a person missing after a truck was submerged by water. Emergency responders in Richland County said they were still searching for another person who was unaccounted for after a truck carrying five people drove around road barriers at about 3 a.m. ET and got caught in floodwaters resulting from the historic rainfall in the state. Three others in the truck escaped to safety, said Lieutenant Curtis Wilson. The latest fatality brings the death count from the widespread rainstorm to at least 16 in South Carolina, including people who drowned or were killed in car crashes. Weather forecasters and state officials warned that major river flooding could continue through the weekend even though the rains had stopped. South Carolina's Low Country remains a chief concern as water flows across the state into already engorged rivers and creeks. Further evacuations are possible in the next 24 hours in a number of eastern counties, Governor Nikki Haley told a news conference. "Things are getting better in the Midlands," she said. "Things are about to get worse on the coast." South Carolina's capital city of Columbia on Tuesday saw its first day without rain since Sept. 23, according to the National Weather Service. But the ongoing recovery effort prompted officials at the University of South Carolina, where classes were canceled for the week, to move the school's football game against Louisiana State University to Baton Rouge on Saturday. Columbia was deluged by about 11 inches of rain over the weekend, its wettest days on record, the weather service said. More than 2 feet (60 cm) of rain fell in several other parts of the southeastern state. About 300 state-maintained roads and 140 bridges remained closed on Wednesday, including a stretch of Interstate-95, state transportation officials said. Thirteen dams have failed and others are being monitored for breaches, Haley said. "We have some communities that are completely devastated," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told reporters. (Additional reporting and writing by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)

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