February 10, 2016

As Monday deadline approaches, FEMA distributes more than $78.5 million in flood aid

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has distributed a large amount of aid to those who registered after October’s massive flooding.

Agency spokesman Carl Henderson  told South Carolina Radio Network that more than $78.5 million is being distributed to those registered and qualified for assistance.

The money can be used to rebuild homes or other property damaged in the flooding, “to take care of essential types of furniture and other needs within their homes so they can move back into it,” Henderson said.

He said between October 4th and October 23rd is the disaster period that individuals would be eligible for to get aid.

The deadline to apply for federal aid is at midnight Monday, Jan. 4.  You can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)  or go online at disasterassistance.gov. Victims can also visit in-person one the disaster relief centers open in any of the federally declared counties.

Proposed legislation would create a disaster relief fund in South Carolina

State Rep. James Smith  (Image: SCETV)

State Rep. James Smith (Image: SCETV)

The new South Carolina legislative session will begin in three weeks and several new bills have already been drafted to help victims of October’s record rain and floods.

One proposal being pushed by two Richland County state representatives would create a disaster relief fund. State Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) said taxpayers could contribute to the fund through their state income tax returns. “We felt like it was a good voluntary measure for citizens who choose to give in that way in addition to the other private nonprofits initiatives that are out there,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.

Smith’s and cosponsor State Rep. Beth Bernstein’s (D-Columbia) districts were among the state’s hardest-hit.

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Tornado confirmed in Berkeley County

After reviewing storm damage, the National Weather Service has confirmed the occurrence of a tornado in Berkeley County.

National Weather Service officials said Thursday that an EF-0 tornado, about 100 yards wide, touched down for about one minute approximately three miles south southwest of Moncks Corner. The storm struck early Wednesday morning.

 It was determined after officials examined photos provided by Berkeley County Emergency Management and aerial drone footage.

 Officials said they also saw swirling in the vegetation along the tornado’s quarter-mile path. No injuries were reported.





$500,000 in grants distributed to South Carolina nonprofits for flood recovery

An entity tasked with overseeing money that was donated to the state following the October floods has revealed the first round of nonprofits that will receive assistance with the funds.

$500,000 in grants will be distributed to South Carolina nonprofits to support their flood recovery projects in a number of hard-hit areas. The funds are from the One SC Flood Relief Fund, housed at Central Carolina Community Foundation.

President and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation JoAnn Turnquist told South Carolina Radio Network that the grants will help more than 350 households devastated by October’s flooding. “We wanted to ensure that funding was going to organizations that would have immediate impact,” she said.

The grant recipients were selected by a grants committee made up of representatives from four Community Foundations representing the 24 counties FEMA designated as eligible for emergency federal aid. The donations have come from all over the U.S. “The monies have come in not only from our region and our state, but from all over the country, individuals, families, church groups, companies, firms have all made contributions to this fund,” Turnquist said.

The One SC Flood Relief Fund was established after October’s devastating floods to help bridge the funding gap in order to assist those who needed help.

To donate go to www.onescfund.org.

List of nonprofits receiving the grants:

·       All Hands Volunteers (Georgetown County)

·       Black River United Way (Georgetown County)

·       Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity (Richland County)

·       Habitat for Humanity Georgetown (Georgetown County)

·       Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery (Darlington and Florence Counties)

·       Home Works of America (Richland County)

·       IMPACT Ministries of Myrtle Beach (Horry County)

·       Mennonite Disaster Service (Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties)

·       South Carolina United Methodist Church (Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Sumter Counties)

·       St. Bernard Project, Inc. (Richland County)

·       Sumter United Ministries (Sumter County)

·       United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries (Richland County)

·       United Way of the Midlands (Richland and Lexington Counties)

October’s heavy rains help break records in South Carolina

Charleston has set a record for rainfall this year, according to data released by forecasters last week.

The National Weather Service station reported 73.40 inches of rain at Charleston International Airport through Monday morning.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Rowley told South Carolina Radio Network that the last record was set 51 years ago. “We had to go back all the way to 1964 when there was 72.99 inches here at the airport. So it’s been quite a while,” Rowley said.

The Weather Service has been measuring rainfall at its official site at the Charleston International Airport since 1938.

The historic rainfall in October which caused massive flooding in parts of the state contributed to Charleston’s record. “October was definitely our wettest month,” Rowley said. “We had a very large contribution for the very first few days of October.”

A month after parts of the state were under the severe drought, the federal government declared another disaster in several areas, including Charleston County, because of the massive rains. Despite the record rainfall, however, downtown measurements were less at around 66.4 inches. While only the fifth-highest annual total ever reported on the Charleston peninsula, it was still the highest level since 1964.