I moved to Columbia, South Carolina about 13 years ago from Chicagoland. Great weather (usually), nice people and affordable housing made the decision easy, especially after my parents decided to retire here. Oh, sure. We get some snow (people freak the hell out. It’s kind of funny to watch, considering we don’t usually get more than an inch or two.), we get some heat, we get some rain.
But Saturday and into Sunday, after nearly a week of rainy weather, we got Rain. That wet shit did not stop falling from the skies until Tuesday.
And pretty much the entire state of South Carolina flooded. Charleston got beaten up first then the heavy stuff headed straight to Columbia.
Now, Cola (as it’s affectionately known to locals) has several lakes (including the huge Lake Murray to the north) and three rivers running through it. We’ve got dams everywhere as well as canals and culverts and every single one of those filled up and over.
On Monday, Lester Holt and Al Roker came to town (big time for SC, especially when it isn’t someone doing a special report about how we f-ed up yet again…this wasn’t our fault! LOL) and, despite the rain, our first responders and work crews were out in full force, trying to prevent more damage and fix what they could.
As compared to those who lost everything (and there are a lot of South Carolinians who lost everything in this historic flood), I am so lucky. I have power. I have water (though we have to boil it…and probably will have to for quite a long while). My crawlspace flooded and killed my heating/air unit but the weather’s beautiful right now. I lost a giant tree but it didn’t hit anything except a mailbox across the street. I’m lucky.
And I’m so damn proud of my city. As soon as people could, they got out of the house and started helping one another. Neighbors checked on one another. Temporary shelters were set up and donation immediately poured in. Water distribution has been set up everywhere around the city. The Red Cross, National Guard, everyone have been overwhelmed with supplies, water, donations and volunteers. Up until this afternoon, there’d been no looting — and the two guys who were the first/only looters were immediately arrested and will face up to 10 years in prison (tisk, tisk!). Stephen Colbert, a South Carolina boy himself, did a moving little tribute to our fair state…with his brand of humor, too.
It’s going to take a really long time to bounce back from this. We’re not out of the woods when it comes to flooding, since many of the rivers haven’t crested yet (that’ll happen over the next 10-12 days). Many of our dams are barely hanging on. So much of our infrastructure is crumbling or completely decimated, and it’s going to take months/years to get all the roads rebuilt. But we haven’t lost our sense of humor.
This historic flood (they’re calling it a 1,000-year flood but, really, how the hell do they know that? An educated guess? I’m sticking with “historic”, considering we’ve never seen anything like this in the 100 or so years we’ve been keeping weather records.) totally kicked–and is still kicking–our collective asses but we’re #CarolinaStrong.
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