Updated – How to Help in SC, and Flood Notes of Interest #scflood

Updated – How to Help in SC, and Flood Notes of Interest #scflood October 5, 2015

UPDATED: Go here for a better list of ways to help with immediate needs and longterm recovery.
One of the difficulties with assisting with flood relief in South Carolina is that unless you are in the immediate area, you may not be able to physically get to a location in order to offer assistance in-kind.

The National Guard collects donations every April 15th (and are doing good work with those funds, thank you), and I’m told a number of dubious “charities” have sprung up.  If you are looking for a place to direct your cash donations, Cola Daily has published a short list of reputable relief organizations that are working on the ground in the Midlands.

Many churches are assisting with local relief efforts (food, water, and clothing), and probably the easiest way to find one in an area of need is to get on the phone with your preferred denomination and ask them how to send a check.  If you want to be a Facebook legend, you could just call up any hotel on high ground and offer to pay the bill for an evacuee in need.

In other interesting flood news:

There’s a fake picture of a flooded Williams-Brice Stadium circulating

This one’s entertaining in that it underscores a significant point about these floods: They aren’t happening where you expect them to. The places around town that we think of as “flood prone” aren’t necessarily where the disasters are.

Some of the coastal flooding is like what you might expect simply living on wetlands / flood plain (I suppose, I’m not there). But once you head west, everything is alarmingly not normal-storm-gone-overboard. These floods are completely different than the usual suspects.

–> If the stadium were in fact flooded, no one would bat an eye.  I mean sure, we’d make swimming chicken jokes and stuff.  But it’s on a floodplain.  You expect a flood there.  Instead, the stadium is doing fine, and roads are washing away where there may have never been a problem at all before.

As best I can tell, what we have is a two-tier storm-water management system.  If you were already flood-prone, there is half-decent concrete drainage put in place, which backs up in a massive, sudden downpour to give you something to complain about while the kids splash in the puddles, but which hardly bats an eye at slow steady rain.  It is in the “safe” areas where earthworks water-management suffices all but once a century or so — and a century ago, very little of what is flooding was anything other than farmland — that we’re seeing the unexpected and catastrophic flooding.

There are exceptions of course.  But that seems to be the overall pattern.

Something fun to keep you Google-mappers off the roads and out of trouble: Here are aerial photos of the flooding.  There are enough captions to clue you in on where to go looking on Google Earth for before-and-after comparisons.  These will actually be milder than the situation on the ground, as another dam in Forest Acres has been breeched this afternoon.  It’s still raining, the Upstate is still draining, this is far from over.

A curiosity that again underscores what a surprise this is, and why, for example, Lake Murray Dam wasn’t lowered sooner: In looking around for links to relief efforts in Clarendon County (didn’t find anything — try the Red Cross or local churches), I came across this article from the SC DNR:  All of South Carolina Now Under Drought Status.  July 17, 2015.  And basically it’s been raining ever since.

And lastly, a reminder from our backwards impressively capable-in-a-disaster state government:  Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the state’s price gouging statute has been initiated.

“As we continue to recover from the catastrophic damage caused to our state, we will see many neighbors helping each other rebuild,” Wilson said in a statement. “However, we may also see some looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging, water and any other commodities as defined by the statute. Pursuant to state law, price gouging constitutes a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.”

. . . Violators can be charged for excessive pricing, which constitutes a misdemeanor offense punishable with a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

The statue will be in effect for the next 15 days, according to the Attorney General’s office. Consumers who feel they have witnessed price gouging can email any examples or documentation to info@scag.gov; tweet photos or examples tagging @SCPriceGouging; or call (803) 737-3953.

By all means post incidents online so others can beware.  But don’t forget to tag the AG when you do so.

File:7 ноября 1824 года на площади у Большого театра.jpg

Artwork: November 7, 1824 in the square at the Bolshoi Theatre, Fyodor Alekseyev [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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