Haley takes aerial tour of statewide flood damage

VIDEO: Haley updates flood threat, damage assessment

COLUMBIA, SC (WISTV/WCSC) - Gov. Nikki Haley took an aerial tour of areas near the coast and warned coastal residents to monitor rivers swelling during the next couple of days as the mass of rainwater works its way toward the ocean.

"Things are getting better in the Midlands, but things are about to get worse on the coast," she said at a press conference earlier in the day.

She said she could see the water moving across the state and warned of the possibility of localized evacuations in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton, Georgetown, Williamsburg and Horry Counties. She also said there will be more road closures in counties near the coast because of the water draining downstream, but says she remains confident the state will bounce back stronger than ever.

"You can push South Carolina, but boy does South Carolina push back," she said.

Haley says state wildlife officials have made at least 600 rescues during the flooding that has ravaged the state. She also repeated her plea for motorists to not attempt to go around barricades that are blocking off closed roads, pointing to a tragedy Wednesday morning.

"We have a situation now where five people moved around a barrier we were able to save three of them two are missing," she said.

Officials have since said those two people have died, bringing the death toll from days of historic rain and floods to at least 19 in the Carolinas.

She says the central area of the state is recovering as the waters recede, but officials are keeping a close eye on the southeastern part of the state.

She says 62 dams across the state are being monitored and 13 had already failed.

She says she understands that questions are being raised about the state's infrastructure, but she says they are still in response and recovery mode. She says there will be time for analysis later.

Additional counties added to FEMA list

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended the disaster declaration for the recent flooding in order to make survivors in Berkeley, Clarendon and Sumter counties eligible for its Individual Assistance program.

Those counties join Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland and Williamsburg, which were designated initially designated by President Barack Obama on Monday.

Assistance can include money for temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs for primary homes, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help survivors recover from the effects of the disaster.

Haley was joined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who said the agency would be here "for a long time."

Both Haley and Fugate urged homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the recent flooding in South Carolina to register for disaster assistance, even if their counties are not listed because more are expected to be added to the list.

Survivors in the designated South Carolina counties can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov. Applicants may also 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.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.