COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on South Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
Just over 400,000 customers remain without power in South Carolina after massive outages this weekend because of Hurricane Matthew.
Utility crews have cut the outages down more than half of the 850,000 customer peak at the height of the storm Saturday.
But utility officials warn the rate of fixing outages may slow significantly as they get to the hardest hit coastal areas where there was major damage to the power grid.
Officials don’t have an estimate on when most everyone should have their electricity back.
Officials at Edisto Beach say Hurricane Matthew dealt the beach community its worst hit since Hurricane David back in 1979.
The storm surge from Matthew destroyed one house on the island and ate away at the foundations of a number of others. Between 3 and 4 feet of sand has been washed up on the four-lane avenue along the beachfront.
Mayor Jane Darby says there’s no power on the island and limited water. Residents will be allowed to go back to the island beginning on Tuesday to check on their property.
The island has only about 400 permanent residents, but on busy summer weekends the population can swell to 30,000.
Congressman Mark Sanford says it’s the worst damage he’s seen from Matthew in his district – the coastal First District which reaches from the Charleston area south to Hilton Head Island.
South Carolina officials say they are dealing with river flooding after Hurricane Matthew pounded the Southeast over the weekend.
Crews worked Monday to rescue about 150 people from the third floor of the town hall in the community of Nichols in Marion County.
State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel says more problems are expected along the Little Pee Dee River, the Lumber River, the Waccamaw River and the Black River.
Keel is working with the Department of Natural Resources to put river patrols out to make sure that the property of those forced to evacuate is safe from looters.
Three people have been killed in the storm.
State transportation officials say there have been about 300 road and bridge closures because of the storm.
About 475,000 customers are without electricity. That’s down from more than 850,000 at the height of the storm.
Gov. Nikki Haley says she expected to fly over flood damaged sections of Beaufort County in her first trip after Hurricane Matthew pounded the state last weekend.
Instead, the governor on Monday headed to the Pee Dee, where she was the effects of flooding on the Lumber and Little Pee Dee River.
The governor says 150 people crowded the town hall in the small community of Nichols in Marion County, waiting for help and rescue. The governor says good word by the Department of Natural Resources, law enforcement and the National Guard helped the people to safety.
Haley said while evacuation orders have been lifted for the state, residents are not being allowed on Hilton Head Island, Harbor Island, Fripp Island and Hunting Island because of continued problems with downed trees and storm damage.
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 nonprofit 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 web site 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.