Flooding in Orangeburg

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LARRY HARDY/T&D

Several roads in The T&D Region have been closed following a weekend of heavy rain, causing emergency and government officials to urge caution -- and common sense -- when traveling.

Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties have seen varying degrees of damage from the rain. Officials from each county said the recovery work is far from over.

"The flooding is to a level that we have never seen before, but it's nothing that we haven't trained and prepared ourselves for," Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said.

He added, "Orangeburg County is unique in that we have an extensive core of volunteers when it comes to firefighters, emergency services, STAR teams and individuals that work side-by-side with paid personnel to form a group that is basically ready to go in a daunting situation like this, especially working with law enforcement."

Young said the county was making preparation for flooded roads even before the heavy rains came, but said the work to repair them will take time.

"It's not something where we can just come in there and throw some dirt across something and say, 'OK, the road is back open.' These are roads that have washed out and, in some cases, have to be reconstructed,” he said.

"We're going to fix the road to the standards that we're accustomed to, and I'm sure we'll have a commitment from council to fix those roads to the best of our ability," Young said.

Bamberg County Emergency Services Director Sharon Hammond said Bamberg County was relatively spared from major road issues, although Pocketville Road in the Ehrhardt area is closed. “We have some roads that have water on them, but they're basically dirt roads," Hammond said.

She said the county is in the process of assessing its roads, including those which have been reported to their office. Dew Drop Road at Sasha Lane, for example, has been flooded, while Carver Road from Low Country Highway to Wild Flower Road is underwater and closed.

She said the county is blessed to be spared a lot of the worse water damage seen in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Richland counties.

"It's like God put us in his hands. With the amount of rain that we've received, we've got very little problems. We had two trees fall down, but they didn't hurt anything," Hammond said.

She advises individuals to use caution on the roads.

"They're just going to have to be careful leaving Bamberg County and making sure that those other counties have not closed down those bridges to their area, and that they don't have any flooding in their area," Hammond said

She said the community must also pray for the people in the harder-hit areas of the state, particularly the ones whose lives were lost.

Calhoun County Emergency Services Director Bill Minikiewicz said, "Well, I would say that this is definitely the worst storm we've seen since Hugo." The rains packed harder punch for the region than the wind.

"I know a lot of the dirt roads are in very bad shape. I got stuck myself trying to check a road out. They're really saturated and slick and slippery, with a lot of holes in them. I know the dirt road in front of where I live is a great big washout. It's a bad situation, and I don't think it's going to get much better until we get dryer," Minikiewicz said

He said, "The main roads that are closed are Highway 601 and McCords Ferry, which is Highway 267, because those are washed out completely with deep ditches. Carson Road is a new one we just added. It's around 380 Carson Road."

He added, "The roads are wet and slippery, with some having standing water in some places."

Like others, Minikiewicz suggested checking the S.C. Department of Transportation website for the latest updates. It is: www.scdot.org

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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Health Reporter

Dionne Gleaton has been a staff writer with The T&D for 20 years. She has been an education reporter, regional reporter and currently writes features with an emphasis on health.

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