The rain has finally stopped falling in South Carolina, but the threats posed by what many are calling a 1,000-year rainfall event—preliminary totals say the storm dumped more than 20 inches on some parts of the state between Friday and Monday—have not. At least 15 people have died so far. The water level is still dangerously high in many places and is surging toward communities downstream. This morning, officials ordered residents near Columbia’s Beaver Dam to evacuate, warning that the structure could break and release millions of gallons of water. It wouldn’t be the only dam to succumb to the storm—NPR reports 18 others have already breached or failed. The capital city is also advising its residents to boil all water before drinking it until further notice.
“For us, this is a biblical event,” Brian Hinton, the deputy chief of the Charleston County Volunteer Rescue Squad, told the New York Times. The footage emerging from the Palmetto State certainly looks like the heavens are angry. In the top video, invasive fire ants form roiling rafts to float to safety, above is an aerial survey of the damage, and below you can watch caskets floating down the street.
While pinning a single weather event to climate change is difficult, warmer air holds more moisture and a hotter ocean intensifies storms. As the atmosphere continues to run a fever, it’s a given that more frequent and intense deluges will continue to open the floodgates.