COLUMBIA, S.C. — The torrential rains from Florence will test South Carolina’s infrastructure, which failed under historic flooding in 2015.

The devastating 2015 floods contributed to 19 deaths and crippled parts of the capital city Columbia for months.

The state’s infrastructure, weakened by years of neglect, crumbled under the strain of nearly 2 feet of rain. Dams burst across the state. Roads washed out and bridges were compromised.

A look at some of South Carolina’s existing infrastructural concerns and how Florence could affect them:


Given past problems, the thousands of public and private dams across South Carolina are cause for concern. More than 40 dams – many state-owned – failed in the aftermath of 2015’s historic flooding, sending water cascading into lower areas.


Forecasts are similar for Florence, with National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warning of “catastrophic rainfall” of up to 40 inches in some places before it finally leaves the Carolinas.


The condition of South Carolina’s roads was of particular concern after the 2015 floods.

Pete Poore, spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said the agency is positioning crews of its 3,200 maintenance workers across the state to be ready to fix broken traffic signals, barricade problem areas and do whatever else is needed to make the state’s roads safe again.


Officials are also closely monitoring the state’s 8,400 bridges. Near Charleston, officials closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 526 over the Wando River in May after discovering that a support cable that helps hold concrete blocks together had snapped.

About 35,000 cars typically use the bridge each day. Commutes that typically take minutes turned into hours as officials partially shut down the bridge to inspect the problem and create a plan to fix it.

Repairs were made, and the bridge reopened a month later.

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