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NOW WHAT? Important phone numbers, info you'll need - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

NOW WHAT? Important phone numbers, info you'll need

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Photo Source: Lindsay Simmons Photo Source: Lindsay Simmons
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South Carolina is finally getting the opportunity to see what exactly happened during the weekend's flooding downpours that dumped more than two feet of rain in parts of the Lowcountry.

But now what?

Here are some things you need to know going forward.

Important Phone Numbers

For the latest SCDOT road conditions, you can call toll free (855) 467-2368. This number operates from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. You can also check for road conditions at scdot.org or you can click here for our regularly-updated list of current road closures.

For questions for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, call their 24-hour hotline at (866) 246-0133.

For questions for FEMA or to apply for assistance, call (800) 621-3362. (Please review the section below title "Damage" for more information about the current list of counties eligible for aid applications at this time.

Evacuations

Dorchester County officials are advising people who live along the Edisto River in Givhans to evacuate, as the river is expected to crest on Thursday.

Williamsburg County officials urged residents who live south of the Black River and the Santee River to voluntarily evacuate because of flood dangers. 

"Citizens wishing to stay home and not follow the evacuation will do so at your own risk," the county said in a release.

Williamsburg County Public Safety crews and the South Carolina Army National Guard will conduct evacuation efforts in the Andrews and Lane areas of Williamsburg County. Those who are evacuating need to bring their own bedding and personal hygiene items because of limited supplies. Any Williamsburg County resident who needs assistance in evacuating should call (843) 354-0790 or (843) 354-0805.

Haley warned of the possibility of localized evacuations in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton, Georgetown, Williamsburg and Horry Counties.

Shelters

On Saturday, the American Red Cross opened the following shelters.

Charleston County:

  • Al Cannon Detention Center Work Camp Facility, 3841 Leeds Ave. in Charleston
  • United Methodist Church, 1125 E. Montague Ave. in North Charleston

Dorchester County:

  • Summerville High School, 1101 Boonehill Rd. in Summerville 

Williamsburg County:

  • Kingstree Senior High School, 615 Martin Luther King Ave. in Kingstree
  • Hemingway High School, 402 Main Street in Hemingway
  • C.E. Murray High School, 222 C.E. Murray Blvd., in Greeleyville

A fourth Williamsburg County location, at the county recreation center in Kingstree, closed Thursday night because of the threat of adverse weather, Red Cross officials said.

As shelters operate and plans to assess damage are underway, the Red Cross is in need of additional volunteers to join its workforce in the Charleston area. For information on how you can volunteer, call (843) 764-2323, ext. 321.

To donate to Red Cross relief efforts, visit redcross.org/donate or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC, 2424 City Hall Lane, North Charleston, S.C. 29406.

Power

In the Pepperhill and Union Heights subdivisions in North Charleston, building officials will have access to previously flooded homes as water recedes. The City is partnering with the Charleston Home Builders Association, Charleston Electrical Contractors Association and Mechanical Contractors Association of South Carolina to inspect homes at no cost to the residents, according to city spokesman Ryan Johnson. Homes must be inspected before power can be restored, Johnson said.

Homeowners in the North Charleston area are encouraged to call (843) 740-2533 or email flood@northcharleston.org to notify authorities if their home had been flooded but not identified as such.

Statewide, more than 26,000 people were without power as of Monday at noon. The largest chunk of those outages are in the Midlands. Across the Lowcountry, small pockets of outages are affecting dozens at a time, according to SCE&G's outage map.

Gusty winds combined with saturated soil and weakened root systems could still topple limbs and trees, bringing power lines with them, so additional outages are still a possibility even after the water recedes.

Roadways

Authorities continue to urge people to stay home if they possibly can, as roadways may have been damaged from water in ways that are not apparent from the surface.

“There are still life-threatening situations in some areas of the state," SCDOT Acting Secretary Christy Hall said in a statement. "We ask all South Carolinians to stay safe and allow our employees the space needed to do their jobs.” 

The SCDOT says it is continuing to monitor and make emergency repairs to roads and bridges across the state.

"SCDOT crews are working to keep roads and bridges that are in good condition open by clearing tree limbs and other debris," agency spokesman Robert Kudelka said. "However, part of the 'response' mission is to close infrastructure that may not be safe for travel. SCDOT will close any bridge or road that may be questionable."

Kudelka says the SCDOT has more than 1,000 maintenance employees working shifts around the clock.  

Be sure to check the list of road closures and the list of closings and cancellations before venturing out, but as authorities advise, don't venture out unless you absolutely have to.

Damage

Haley verbally requested federal disaster aid, a rare step she said should expedite the process.

"For those of you who have damage, go ahead and begin making a list of that," she said. "FEMA will be on the ground soon." She said authorities would explain the recovery process, but warned it would not be a quick process.

She said the state is slowly moving from recovery operations to assessment to determine the level of damage the state has suffered. Charleston County Emergency Management Department Chief Cathy Haynes said Monday the county hopes to begin damage assessment operations by Tuesday.

The following counties have been added to the list qualified for residents to apply for individual aid:

  • Charleston
  • Berkeley
  • Dorchester
  • Williamsburg
  • Georgetown
  • Horry
  • Florence
  • Richland
  • Lexington
  • Sumter
  • Calhoun
  • Orangeburg
  • Clarendon
  • Lee
  • Kershaw
  • Darlington

Apply online at disasterassistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 24 hours a day until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.

Filing insurance claims

When filing an insurance claim, make sure your family and the structure of your home are safe before you begin surveying damage, the South Carolina Insurance News Service says. Be cautious before you enter standing water, and make sure power has been turned off, especially if outlets or power cords have been submerged.

Damage should be reported to your insurance agent or company. Find your insurance policy and have your policy number handy when you are ready to make your claim. Once damage has been reported, your insurance company will be able to review your policy, explain your coverage, outline the claims process and answer specific questions.

The SCINS says you should not dispose of damaged personal property until an adjuster has had the chance to examine it. Photographs or video documentation of the damaged property may be helpful in processing a claim faster.

Here are numbers for major insurance companies:

  • Allstate – (800) ALLSTATE or (800) 54-STORM
  • Bankers – (800)765-9700
  • Centauri – (866) 215-7574
  • Farmers – (800) 435-7764
  • Foremost – (800) 274-7865
  • GEICO – (800) 841-3000
  • Lighthouse Property – (877) 852-0606 (option 2)
  • Nationwide – (800) 421-3535
  • St. John’s – (877) 748-2059
  • S.C. Farm Bureau – (800) 799-7500
  • S.C. Wind and Hail Underwriters – (800) 236-1873
  • Southern Mutual – (800) 226-1919
  • State Auto – (800) 766-1853
  • State Farm – (800) SF CLAIM or (800) 782-8332
  • Universal North America – (866) 999-0898
  • USAA – (800) 531-8722

How to help

The best way to help with disaster relief efforts is to make a monetary contribution to one of the many voluntary organizations active in the disaster, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. 

"Cash,' which can be used immediately in response to a crisis, allows organizations to purchase or provide exactly what is needed, when it is needed and to procure supplies near the affected area," SCEMD spokesman Derrec Becker said. "Organized donations cut down on transportation time and costs.

The SCEMD recommends donations to the following recognized organizations:

  • Adventist Community Services: (877) 227-2702
  • American Red Cross of Central South Carolina: (800) 435-7669
  • Feeding America: (800) 771-2303
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank: (803) 254-4432
  • Lutheran Disaster Response: (800) 638-3522
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: (800) 872-3283
  • Salvation Army: (800) 725-2769
  • Southern Baptist Convention/Disaster Relief: (800) 462-8657
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief: (800) 554-8583
  • United Way of America: (800) 272-4630
  • United Way of South Carolina: (803) 929-1000

Check back for additional information as new resources become available.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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