If you use this email, please don’t use my name. Governor Nikki Haley told everybody “don’t go to the Clemson game,” but then she went herself the night before this disaster. Then she stands up there like a big shot in her news conference, spouting off that “we haven’t seen this level of rain in the low country in a thousand years” so in other words, “don’t blame me for this mess.”
She doesn’t even understand what that statistic means. CNN said:
“Since weather records don’t go back far enough to know if it’s rained this much in South Carolina in a 1,000 years, a ‘thousand-year rainfall’ means that the amount of rainfall in South Carolina has a 1-in-1,000 chance of happening in any given year, explained CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.”
And while she is proudly spouting out misinformation, some poor S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) worker died in the floodwaters. Shameful.
Government information for the public on road and bridge closures has been a joke. Look at SCDOT’s Facebook page for examples.
Of course the agency’s hotline number was constantly busy, yet they were bragging about how many callers they served (“as of 7 am today the SCDOT Call Center has helped 124 callers”). Yet people posting questions on their Facebook page received no response – except from other drivers.
How much does it cost for somebody to answer questions on Facebook?
Also, the information on all the road and bridge closures wasn’t updated – so there was no way for anyone to know for sure which roads were open. For example, someone asked “Is 301 from Manning to Turbeville passable?” No answer from SCDOT but someone else responded that the “bridge is completely gone at Black River and one on Juneburn road so I’m really not sure how you could get to Turbeville if 95 is still closed too.”
On DOT’s list of bridge and road closures, this washed out span was nowhere to be found.
So, the public had to get answers on the condition of roads and bridges from each other, not from government.
A friend was trying to get home and nobody in the government would answer the phone to answer a simple question of if the interstate was open. The DOT website said the interstates were closed, but the only source of accurate information was a truck stop, which said they were open and they had drivers from Florida.
Looks like a lot of people aren’t happy. Here are excerpts from Facebook responses:
“Map looks like a 3 yr old had a crayon. Anyone make sense of it?”
“Is there a map that shows the roads more clearly? I can’t tell which ones specifically are closed. Wondering for work tomorrow.”
“Is there a ‘INTERACTIVE’ map that i can zoom in and out to find the route i need to take tomorrow.”
“this map is a joke…”
“Not enough info…”
This level of emergency unpreparedness is ridiculous. It’s not like we’re in a state that gets hurricanes or anything!
This big file (massive for mobile users) shows the low areas on the interstate – like where they had to close Interstate 95 from Interstate 26 all the way to Florence. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Maybe raising these low areas of the interstate might should be a top priority so next time we get a “1000-year flood” they don’t have to close it? Just askin’.
Anon: Thanks for your letter. We’ve been reporting from the beginning of this disaster on the lack of preparedness/ bungled response demonstrated at the state, county and municipal level. Appreciate your inside take on it as it relates to SCDOT. We’d say “hope they learn from their mistakes,” but this is South Carolina.