South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called the effects of Hurricane Joaquin historic, producing “a 1,000-year flood” as torrential rains pummeled the region on Sunday.
Despite staying far offshore and weakening to a Category 2 storm this morning, Joaquin wrought havoc on some East Coast states, saturating South Carolina, in particular, according to National Public Radio.
Joaquin passed Bermuda early this morning, registering as a Category 3 storm on Sunday evening with winds of 105 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph this morning, with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Seven people were killed by the flooding in South Carolina during the weekend, even as the storm unexpectedly left most of the East Coast unscathed, according to The New York Daily News.
Record downpours near Charleston have left the region grappling with power outages and rainfall ranging from seven to more than 20 inches as of Sunday night.
A state of emergency prepared South Carolina for the predicted storm, but that was before the state’s capital, Columbia, began to see the worst flooding in South Carolina history. Emergency management officials expect conditions to worsen through Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center predicted that the storm will continue to weaken during the next 48 hours.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward as far as 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward as far as 205 miles. A sustained wind speed of 40 mph and a gust to 58 mph were reported at Bermuda International Airport this morning.
Although Joaquin continues to track away from the United States, the storm is expected to produce strong surf affecting portions of the Bahamas and the southeastern and mid-Atlantic coasts through today.
The search continued this morning for the U.S.-flagged cargo ship El Faro, which was carrying 33 people when it disappeared on Thursday as it sailed into the hurricane, then a powerful Category 4 storm, near the Bahamas’ Crooked Island.