- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - The latest on drenching storms threatening the East Coast. All times local:

8 p.m.

With the prospect of heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding threatening all parts of the state, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency Thursday evening.

Haley said the state of emergency is necessary to make sure that preparations are being taken at all levels of government to protect the state from the predicted heavy rains that are forecast to last through the weekend.

The potential for several inches of rain in many parts of the state dropping on already saturated ground has officials worried about flash flooding, which has the potential to uproot trees and topple power lines, among other threats.

Haley also mentioned the potential threat of Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN’), although forecasters Thursday night were predicting that the storm would probably stay farther out in the Atlantic than was thought previously.


4:45 p.m.

Students in at least one school district in South Carolina are getting a surprise day off thanks to the heavy rain.

Charleston County schools will be closed Friday. Heavy rain and high tides caused flooding Thursday in the area, and more rain is expected Friday., possibly creating a danger for getting children to and from school on buses.

The district will make up the day later in October.

Other districts near Charleston say they are considering whether to keep a regular schedule Friday.

5:10 p.m.

The U.S. Navy is preparing to move ships out of Virginia as Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN’) approaches.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command says some ships began the process of leaving their bases in Hampton Roads on Thursday.

The ships that were sent out to sea Thursday have designs that made it necessary to get them out of the way from high winds from an existing storm expected to hit the area Friday.

Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base and is the home port for every East Coast-based aircraft carrier.


4 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency to allow emergency responders to begin to prepare for flooding from heavy rains and damage from a hurricane.

The governor spoke Thursday from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Reisterstown.

Recent storms have swamped parts of the East Coast. The approach of Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN’) could intensify the damage.

The storm was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Thursday afternoon and was pounding the Bahamas. It was expected to head north over the next several days, raising the possibility of heavy rains for the East Coast this weekend and into early next week.


1:50 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for the entire state to help prepare for a possible thrashing by Hurricane Joaquin.

Rain and wind from the Category 3 storm threaten to pummel the state this weekend.

McCrory says his declaration allows exceptions to weight and time restrictions on trucks while also giving him added authority to respond to trouble.

McCrory says Outer Banks towns are facing special risks because rain there has been coming nearly nonstop for a week followed by a weekend nor’easter that’s chewed up protective sand dunes.

McCrory says up to 10 inches of rain could fall in parts of the state’s western mountains and foothills, and that water pouring downhill could cause damage to communities there.


12:10 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency ahead of a storm expected to bring heavy rain and flooding. Christie says it’s too soon to know whether Hurricane Joaquin will have a direct impact on the state, but warned of coastal flooding Friday and Saturday.

Flood warnings and watches are in effect up and down the New Jersey coast already.

Christie says he will consider evacuations if necessary, but that it’s too early to know if that will be needed. He told residents to prepare themselves Thursday.


11:40 a.m.

Sailors at the world’s largest naval base are filling thousands of sandbags to protect the base’s buildings from flooding.

About 13,000 sandbags are being filled at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as the installation prepares for days of rain and the possibility of being hit by Hurricane Joaquin. Navy officials say this is the most intensive storm preparation effort the base has had since Hurricane Ernesto in 2006.

The installation is in a low-lying area adjacent to the Elizabeth River and Willoughby Bay. It’s not uncommon for streets on the base to flood during storms.

Naval Station Norfolk is home to aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers, among other ships. The base is also home to numerous command headquarters and support buildings.


11:40 a.m.

Parts of South Carolina have seen 5 or more inches of rain fall in a drenching storm that flooded and closed roads, submerged cars and made for a hazardous commute.

Officials in Spartanburg County say one person died Thursday morning in the street flooding. Another person who was able to get out as his vehicle was swept off the road managed to cling to a tree and was rescued.

The flooding was mostly localized. Areas only 15 miles away from the worst got just drizzle.

Twenty-nine-year old Jess Herzog takes back roads to her job at a public library, and she says rain has made driving treacherous, especially coming home from work late last night.

In an email, she wrote, “There have been some downed trees where I live, and the rain’s definitely hampered things.”

She wrote that the nearby Pacolet River has previously overflowed its banks and she fears it might happen again. She says, “I take that bridge twice a day to get to and from work!”

She also fears a repeat of 2005, when Hurricane Rita caused problems in the area. Hurricane Joaquin is churning in the Atlantic and threatening the U.S.


8:10 a.m.

Heavy rains have flooded and closed streets in South Carolina as the East Coast braces for drenching storms.

Thursday’s flooding and closures were centered in Spartanburg County, including part of Interstate 85 Business just north of Spartanburg.

Doug Bryson with Spartanburg County Emergency Management told news outlets that one man was rescued Thursday morning after his vehicle was swept off the road where a culvert had washed out. The man managed to cling to a tree and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

There was no immediate word on his condition.

The coroner’s office says one person died after several vehicles were submerged early Thursday. The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

Richard Bishop says a creek behind his family’s body shop in Spartanburg was flooded past its banks but had receded somewhat by Thursday morning. A road that runs behind the shop was closed. Driving to work in drizzling rain, Bishop saw several high-water areas near train underpasses in town but didn’t have to alter his route.


This item has been corrected to show that flooding occurred on parts of Interstate 85 Business, not Interstate 95 Business.


7:45 a.m.

Officials in South Carolina say one person has died in street flooding in Spartanburg as the East Coast braces for drenching storms.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger tells local news outlets the death occurred early Thursday when several cars were submerged in flash floods.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating. Troopers say several cars were trapped briefly under a bridge where flooding often occurs during heavy rain.


4:40 a.m.

Governors up and down the East Coast are warning residents to prepare for drenching storms that could cause power outages and close more roads in a region already walloped by rain.

Recent downpours have forced people from their homes and closed schools, and forecasters are calling for several more inches of rain in coming days - regardless of what happens with Hurricane Joaquin, which is spinning off the coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says depending on its path, Joaquin could intensify the storms’ damage.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the officials urging residents to take precautions, saying: “Our state has seen the damage that extreme weather can cause time and time again.”

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