Southeastern Section - 65th Annual Meeting - 2016

Paper No. 34-7
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


KAUFMAN, Charlie, South Carolina Emergency Management Division, West Columbia, SC 29172; South Carolina Emergency Management Department, State of South Carolina, 2779 Fish Hatchery Road,, West Columbia, SC 29172 and LEVINE, Norman, Masters of Environmental Studies, College of Charleston, 202 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29424,

The October 2015 rainfall event in South Carolina has been referred to by the media as a “rain bomb”. Outside of South Carolina, people understood that something unprecedented for the state was happening. Inside South Carolina, people mobilized to handle what became the second largest disaster in South Carolina since hurricane Hugo in 1989. While people struggled with trying to explain the magnitude and scope of the storm, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division worked to protect the citizens of the state. The storm dropped more than 24 inches of rain within roughly 36 hours in some areas of the state.

 South Carolina residents were faced with washed out bridges, roads, failed dams, flooded neighborhoods and catastrophic economic losses. To truly understand the impact that the storm has had on South Carolina operations, one needs only to look at how the South Carolina Emergency Management Division has operated during this event. South Carolina’s Emergency Operations Center was activated on Oct 1st in preparation for the predicted weather. SCEMD officially returned to normal operating conditions on December 1st a full two months after the initial activation. While the state of SC will remain focused on long term recovery issues for the next few years, SCEMD has begun working with the universities across the state to better quantify the impacts of this event. This presentation looks at the "October rain bomb" from the emergency management perspective. GIS maps have been developed of total rainfall, known water and flooding locations and depths, dam and road failures, which have been combined with demographic and economic information to better understand the current and projected costs for the state of South Carolina to fully recover from this historical flooding event.