The Latest: National Guard asks residents to heed warnings
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The latest on the rainstorm that pounded parts of the East Coast (all times local):
South Carolina National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston urged residents in low-lying areas on the coast to heed authorities if they tell them to evacuate.
Any mandatory evacuations would be ordered by local officials, and Livingston says people should listen to them.
SEE MORE: South Carolina death toll rises to 16 as floodwaters persist
"We want people to be hyper-vigilant," he said. "People have been very complacent."
The general said the Georgetown area includes some trouble spots, but not the entire city. In Georgetown County, Guardsmen used large military trucks Thursday to pick up people whose houses had been cut off by submerged roads.
See photos of the storm aftermath:
Other areas of concern included Pawleys Island and places along the Black River and the Edisto River, which is southwest of Charleston.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is urging residents of Georgetown and other coastal areas to evacuate ahead of flooding that is expected as storm water flows down swollen rivers toward the coast.
SEE MORE: Flood slams South Carolina's already shoddy infrastructure
Haley said people in Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Jamestown should "strongly consider evacuating," and asked people to convince relatives in the area to leave.
"We are having an issue getting those people to leave because they have been in hurricane situations," she said. "This is, as the general said, 'a different kind of bad.'"
Haley said flooding is expected in Georgetown in the next 12 hours, followed by Jamestown and the Givhans Ferry area in the next 72 hours.
She said the standing water could last nearly two weeks.
Columbia officials say they will succeed in securing the city's water supply, despite a setback in efforts to plug a breach in a dam along the canal at the main water treatment plant.
Assistant City manager Missy Gentry said Thursday that workers were already laying pipes for an alternative plan. Those pipes will allow the city to pull water directly from the river, without relying on the canal that normally feeds the treatment plant.
Gentry says there are no plans to turn off the city's water supply.
She said the two main water treatment plants are both working above their normal operating levels.
Mayor Steve Benjamin says officials had hoped to have the situation resolved Wednesday, but it's now expected to be ready in the next couple of days.
The number of South Carolina dams being monitored by emergency officials has grown from 62 to 70 across the state as rising waters crest toward the coast.
In a Thursday morning update, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said 70 dams are now on their watch list and 14 dams have failed.
On Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley announced that 62 dams were under the watch condition and 13 had failed.
There are about 50,000 dams in South Carolina, but only 2,200 are large enough to be regulated by the state through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
South Carolina Emergency Management officials are warning residents in four coastal counties to stay alert for possible evacuation orders near two rising rivers.
Floodwaters are rising near the Waccamaw and Edisto rivers as water from the massive rainstorms move from the middle section of South Carolina toward the coast.
Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker said Thursday that people in parts of Dorchester, Charleston, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties should listen to their county emergency managers for the latest updates.
Becker tells the Associated Press, "It will be based on ongoing conditions. People are not out of harm's way."
Becker says evacuation orders would depend on how close people may be to rising river waters.
Gov. Nikki Haley is scheduled to give a report on South Carolina's ongoing response to flooding.
The governor's office says she is again planning to speak to reporters at the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Haley has been giving regular updates at the operations center and has traveled to several other places to assess flooding and talk with reporters. In Horry County on Wednesday, she warned coastal residents to monitor rivers swelling during the next couple of days as the mass of rainwater works its way toward the ocean.
A boil water advisory in effect for all City of Columbia water customers has been lifted in one municipality.
City officials said late Wednesday that customers in the town of Chapin and nearby areas no longer have to boil water before drinking or cooking after tests showed samples were safe.
All of the rest of the city's 375,000 water customers are still covered under the advisory, which has been in effect all week due to flooding. Officials also caution customers to conserve water usage while crews work to repair damage to the city's main water source.
Record rainfall caused a breach in the Columbia Canal downstream from the city's water plant, bringing the canal's water level to dangerously low levels.
Federal disaster aid has been opened up for five additional South Carolina counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said late Wednesday it had amended the disaster declaration for the recent flooding to make survivors in Calhoun, Darlington, Florence, Kershaw and Lee counties eligible for its individual assistance program.
President Barack Obama has already signed a disaster declaration, ordering federal aid to help recovery efforts in South Carolina. The action taken Monday made federal funding available to people in eight counties. Three others were added earlier Wednesday.
About 400 roads and bridges across South Carolina remain closed as crews continue to assess damage caused by flooding.
The Emergency Management Division says about two dozen shelters remained open across the state as of Wednesday night.
Officials say electricity has been restored to all but about 200 customers.
A nearly 15-mile stretch of Interstate 95 remains closed between Interstates 20 and 26.
A historic storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of rain onto central South Carolina last weekend left the Black and Pocotaligo rivers overflowing with fast-moving water, meaning inspectors haven't been able to eyeball the underside of bridges over the waterways.
Several school districts in the Columbia area are opening up some of their cafeterias to serve free meals to kids off school this week due to flooding.
Officials with Richland School District 1 and 2 say children are welcome to come eat lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in school cafeterias Thursday and Friday.
Children are also invited to come and eat lunch in Richland School District 2 schools from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. District officials say they'll also have employees on hand to talk to families affected by the flooding.
South Carolina's top agriculture official says he estimates the state may have lost more than $300 million crop losses in recent flooding.
Commissioner Hugh Weathers says he flew over flooded areas several times this week and met with state and federal agriculture officials to begin assessing the damage.
Weathers says his initial estimate is conservative and could rise. He says low-lying farmland near rivers and creeks were most severely affected and that crops damaged include peanuts, cotton, fall vegetables, soybeans and some timber.
He says officials are still working to determine the damage to livestock and poultry, and that timber harvesting will resume when logging roads are passable.
Weathers says 2015 has been exceptionally challenging for South Carolina's farmers already, with a severe drought during growing season coming prior to the harvest-time flooding.
The University of South Carolina has again closed its Columbia campus to faculty and staff due to flooding.
University officials say only essential personnel should report to its main campus Thursday. The school says it follows the schedule of government offices in Richland County, which are also closed.
Classes have been called off all week at the school's flagship campus that's attended by more than 30,000 students as Columbia and its surrounding areas assess damage from record-setting rainfall and the flooding that has followed.
Columbia is also still under a boil water advisory, meaning all water must be boiled for a minute before cooking or drinking. Schools in the area have also canceled classes through Friday.
The City of Columbia has also closed its offices Thursday and Friday except for essential services.
City of Columbia officials say they're moving forward with a backup plan to protect the city's main water source after a portion of the Columbia canal collapsed, forcing workers to stop building a dam meant to plug an earlier breach.
The city said late Wednesday that it would begin installing pumps that move water directly from the canal and the nearby Broad River to the reservoir that feeds the water plant. Mayor Steve Benjamin said the pumps were already in place and expressed confidence officials will work hard to make sure the city doesn't run out of water.
The Columbia Canal was built in the early 1800s and provides 35 million gallons a day to the city's water plant, serving 375,000 customers. Record rainfall caused a breach in the canal downstream from the water plant, bringing the canal's water level to dangerously low levels.
As floodwaters caused by record rainfalls recede across South Carolina, residents are coming home to the heartbreaking reality of just how much they've lost.
Many have virtually nothing left after their clothes, furniture, and other possessions were claimed by the water.
And there are other signs it will be some time before life gets back to normal in the capital of Columbia: The University of South Carolina decided to move its home football game against LSU some 700 miles away to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university says more than 80,000 fans expected for the game in Columbia would have put too much stress on weakened infrastructure.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is warning of a potential billion-dollar cleanup bill.
Meanwhile, there's still a threat of more flooding, especially downstream as the floodwaters head toward the Atlantic.
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