Complicating the problem is that the infrastructure was already in bad shape in places. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1,048 of the 9,275 bridges were structurally deficient before this storm.
The flooding forced hundreds of weekend rescues and threatened the drinking water supply for Columbia, with officials warning some could be without potable water for days because of water main breaks. The capital city told all 375,000 of its water customers to boil water before drinking.
Officials brought in bottled water and portable restrooms for the 31,000 students at the University of South Carolina, and firefighters used a half-dozen trucks and pumps to ferry hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital.
In another downstream area, Lake City, the flooding left a brown four-door sedan bobbing with its hood angled down at the road leading to Lake City High School, the site of a Red Cross shelter that housed more than 100 people Monday. Lisa Singletary, 34, trudged past the waterlogged car through water about 4 feet deep to reach the shelter after her sister's ground-floor apartment was inundated.
Singletary grabbed her three children, ages 1, 4 and 16, and her sister's three children, ages 9 to 18, and pushed through the grimy water after sunset Sunday, she said. She and her sister, Mary Singletary, then returned for everything they could carry.
"We had to really wade in the water. ... We had to hold the kids up from really getting wet and everything," said Singletary, who was visiting for the weekend from nearby Johnsonville.
The two women filled plastic trash bags with "toothpaste, toothbrush, wash cloths, towels, blankets, pillows, clothes, socks, shoes," Singletary said. "We brought everything that we could have brought."
Back in the Columbia area, James Shirer saw the dam along Rockyford Lake in the town of Forest Acres fail Monday, causing the 22-acre lake to drain in 10 to 15 minutes.