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Severe Flooding Inundates South Carolina

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Images from South Carolina this morning, they're just stunning. The state is experiencing some of the worst flooding in its history. Roads look like raging rivers, with just the tops of buildings visible on the water's surface. At least seven people are reported dead. People are being rescued by boat and by helicopter.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The state's capital, Columbia, has been hit hard. Mike Parker (ph) lives in one of the most flood prone areas of Columbia with his wife and daughter. He says almost every time it rains, the creek near his home floods. But when Parker and his wife went to bed Saturday night, they weren't expecting it to be this bad.

MIKE PARKER: We were awakened to the sounds of cell phones giving us a flood warning, which we get often around here. And my wife got up, and I heard her scream that water was coming in the house.

MONTAGNE: He described the scene to us on the phone last night. By 5:30 in the morning, Parker says the bottom floor of their house had completely flooded. And the second floor was starting to be engulfed by water.

PARKER: We grabbed as much as we could, some of my daughter's stuff that, you know, she could wear - just what we could get. You know, cell phones, we definitely got that. And that's pretty much it. We didn't want to waste too much time. And sure enough, it was really rising really fast.

GREENE: Parker and his family took a duffel bag and their two dogs and escaped through the back, climbing over a neighbor's fence to get to higher ground. Now their house is completely under water. Parker thinks about losing his daughter's baby pictures.

PARKER: We've lived there 13 years. My daughter grew up there. It's frustrating, and it's kind of scary.

MONTAGNE: The Parkers are staying with friends now in a house that's dry. But there's almost no drinkable water, and the power flickers on and off. We asked him what's next, and he laughed.

PARKER: (Laughter) Well, probably a lot of talking to insurance companies, I guess. We're going to have to find somewhere to live. It'll be unlivable there for sure. Thankfully, we have some generous friends. And folks I work with have been really good. And we'll just take one day as it comes. That's all you can do.

GREENE: That's the message from Mike Parker, a flood victim in Columbia, S.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.