Remembering the 2015 flood following Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath

House debris

One Columbia-area home gutted after the 2015 flood damaged whole neighborhoods and towns.

South Carolina has seen a lot of devastation by weather in the past year. I expect storm damage to be a primary budget focus for lawmakers next year, even after some have said that the state’s most critical funding issue is the Retirement System’s $21 billion unfunded liability.

Photos of caved in roads, a specter of last year’s flooding devastation across wide swaths of the state, filled the state Transportation Department’s Twitter page today as the agency goes into cleanup mode following Hurricane Matthew.

Entire sections of Florence County roads have been washed away like they were never there, reminding me of downed trees and power lines after Hugo struck the Florence neighborhood where I lived as a little girl in 1989.

My heart goes out to those along the coast–from the Caribbean to the Carolinas–who have lost homes, businesses and loved ones.

It’s been one year and one week since South Carolina’s historic flood. Here’s an excerpt from The Carolina Ledger, published last week as we braced for Hurricane Matthew–

The devastation of the last year’s historic October 4 flood is still fresh in our minds as South Carolina braces for the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew. The effects of the storm are expected to be felt along the Southeastern coast this weekend.

I remember the night before the flood perfectly. I stopped by the coffee counter at Columbia’s Whole Foods on Devine St. for a smoothie late that Saturday night, while my husband picked up a few supplies for a lazy dinner.

It had been raining outside, but the weather was unassuming, offering no hint of impending calamity.  The man at the counter said officials were warning residents of anticipated heavy rainfall. I dismissed what I thought was mindless chit chat about the weather.

It wasn’t.

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