Torrential rainfall across South Carolina has led to devastating floods, killing 15 people and leaving hundreds trapped inside homes and vehicles.
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, at least nine people have drowned in the floods, with a further six killed in traffic accidents after evading flood barriers and driving onto flooded roads.
US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency, making federal aid available to help tackle the water.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said the rainfall across the state would occur once in 1000 years, and has told residents to stay inside despite rain stopping.
“This is not over. Just because the rain stops does not mean that we are out of the woods,” said Ms Haley.
The National Weather Service said more than 360 millimetres of rain has fallen across the state, bursting dams and raising river levels.
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Officials say up to 1000 people have taken refuge in shelters around South Carolina, with an estimated 26,000 people left without power and 40,000 had no drinking water.
Up to 550 roads and bridges across the state were closed to traffic, leading to many residents being evacuated by helicopters and boats.
Ms Haley said she was unable to provide an estimate on the cost of the damage, however Mayor of Columbia Steve Benjamin believes the damage “will probably be in the billions of dollars”. – Josh Chahal
Top photo of flooding in South Carolina from CNN’s TV coverage.