October 10, 2016 - 10:07 AM
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Latest on South Carolina's recovery from Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
Edisto Beach is still blocked off two days after Hurricane Matthew. Police have a checkpoint about two miles from the beach in front of a convenience store and are not letting residents or sightseers in.
Several homes on the island were destroyed or damaged in the storm and power is out to the island and seems to be out for miles up the rural road leading to the town. About a dozen residents were waiting with a group of reporters at the checkpoint at midday Monday.
The mayor, police chief and other town officials planned an early afternoon news conference to discuss the damage in the community and the recovery effort. The town has only about 400 permanent residents but is a popular vacation spot for visitors who rent homes on the island during the summer.
Emergency officials say rescue crews are responding to bring out residents from a small community in Marion County where homes are threatened by the rising waters of the Lumber River.
County Emergency Management Division Director Jerry Williams said Monday morning the floods are threatening homes in Nichols. He did not have details immediately.
Nichols is in the northeastern corner of South Carolina about 10 miles from the North Carolina state line.
The Marion County area was hard hit by rains from Hurricane Matthew. More than 15 inches of rain fell in nearby Mullins while more than 14 inches was recorded in Marion.
Heavy rains that fell farther north in North Carolina have also swelled the Lumber River.
A fundraising effort started to help victims of last year's historic floods in South Carolina is being extended to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.
Gov. Nikki Haley and officials from the Central Carolina Community Foundation say that the One SC Fund is now accepting donations to help hurricane victims.
The fund was started last year in the wake of what's been called a 1,000-year flood in South Carolina.
To date, One SC has distributed $2 million in grants to non-profit organizations supporting flood recovery projects. Officials say it has helped 1,500 South Carolina families get back in their homes.
Donations for hurricane victims can be made online at www.onescfund.org .
All hurricane evacuation orders have now been lifted for the South Carolina coast.
Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that those who evacuated in Horry and Georgetown counties may now return home. Evacuation orders for the state's other coastal counties were lifted on Sunday.
State officials are urging those returning to the coast to have patience because they may encounter traffic jams heading home. And while most areas that were closed before and during the storm have been reopened, some local areas may remain closed because of flooding or other issues.
Those returning may still encounter downed trees and limbs, downed power lines and flooding and are urged not to drive around traffic barricades.
Power outages in some areas may last several days. As of early Monday about a half-million electric customers in the state remained without power.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is taking an aerial tour of the damage in South Carolina caused by Hurricane Matthew.
Haley is going up Monday morning in a National Guard helicopter to get a look at the state, particularly focusing on flooding in the Pee Dee caused by the storm. She is to meet with reporters in Columbia after making the assessment.
The storm dropped more than 15 inches of rain in some areas of the Pee Dee and about a half million electric customers in the state remain without power.
For those in South Carolina who evacuated inland as Hurricane Matthew approached it may take some time to return to the Charleston area.
The state Department of Transportation reports that traffic was heavy on Interstate 26 heading to Charleston on Sunday and at one point traffic from Interstate 95 was not being allowed to exit and go east on I-26. Media outlets report that traffic was again heavy Sunday night, in part because some motorists were returning from the Georgia-South Carolina football game.
Traffic is expected to build again on Monday as coastal residents return. While the eastbound lanes on the interstate were reversed for the Matthew evacuation, they are not being reversed for re-entry. Gov. Nikki Haley says the lanes are only reversed for safety, not for comfort.
The state Department of Transportation has a link on its website listing coastal re-entry routes and the travel times. As of 8:30 a.m. Monday, the site listed the normal I-26 travel time between Columbia and Charleston of about an hour and 30 minutes.
The heaviest rains from Hurricane Matthew which swept through South Carolina over the weekend were in the Pee Dee and the Beaufort areas.
Figures from the National Weather Service show that more than 15 inches of rain fell in Mullins while more than 14 inches was recorded in Marion in the Pee Dee. More than 13 inches was reported in Kingstree.
More than a foot of rain fell in the Gallivants Ferry and Conway areas of Horry County while nearly 12 inches fell in Florence County.
The Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station received 14 inches and Hilton Head Island received 11.
Between 10 and 11 inches were recorded at locations in the Charleston area.
Power is slowly being restored to the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians left without power when Hurricane Matthew hit the state over the weekend.
As of early Monday utility outage maps show that just 500,000 customers across the state were still in the dark.
That's down from 625,000 on Sunday and about 825,000 at the height of the storm.
Power companies say it may be several days before power can be restored to all electric customers across South Carolina.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will update the state's residents on the recovery effort from Hurricane Matthew.
Haley is to meet with reporters Monday at 1 p.m. to review efforts to clean up after the storm.
At least three people have died two in Florence County and one in Richland County.
Two victims in Florence County were caught in vehicles that were swept off of roads by floodwaters.
A man in Columbia died when he was pinned beneath his electric wheelchair at a nursing home and drowned in standing water.
Evacuation orders were lifted in Beaufort and Jasper County late Sunday. The evacuation orders were still in effect for Georgetown and Horry counties, the last counties on the South Carolina coast to experience the storm Saturday evening.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016