COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina (all times local):
Power continues to be restored to electric customers across South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
Utility outage maps show that about 152,000 electric customers across the state remained without power on Wednesday afternoon. That’s down from about 180,000 Wednesday morning and from about 850,000 at the height of the storm that blew in last week.
Of the 152,000 customers still without power, about 30,000 live in Florence County where there has been widespread flooding.
South Carolina is slowly returning to a sense of normalcy in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. State government offices reopened Wednesday in every county in the state except Williamsburg County where there was flooding of the Black River in Kingstree, the county seat.
Downtown Charleston was busy as usual and thousands of students were back in town after classes resumed at the College of Charleston. Still, piles of broken limbs and branches were piled beside some streets awaiting pickup and the sound of chain saws filled the air in some neighborhoods.
For the first time since last week and the approach of the storm, Gov. Nikki Haley did not hold a press briefing to update residents on the preparations for the storm or the recovery efforts.
Residents in Horry County will have to deal with river flooding into early next week. The National Weather Service in Wilmington reported Wednesday that the Waccamaw River was flooding in Conway and that could worsen by Monday.
The Weather Service warns the rising water will flood the Conway Marina and that that railroad trestles in downtown Conway will also be threatened. Dozens of roads in Horry County are already closed because of storm flooding.
Some areas in the Pee Dee of South Carolina received 15 inches of rain as the storm passed through last week.
The rains from Hurricane Matthew have unearthed three coffins from a graveyard in Beaufort County.
Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen tells The Beaufort Gazette (http://bit.ly/2dWgCFU) that his office received a report of a coffin floating in the Coosaw River Tuesday afternoon. Then on Wednesday morning two more coffins were spotted.
The coffin reported Tuesday was recovered by members of the National Guard and the remains have been identified. By late morning Wednesday the other two had not yet been recovered.
All three came from the Warsaw Cemetery.
Allen says that when the ground becomes saturated, coffins can rise to the surface. Some areas of South Carolina received 15 inches of rain during the hurricane.
A group of plaintiffs’ attorneys in South Carolina is offering some free help to homeowners coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
The South Carolina Association for Justice said Wednesday its members are available to help any property owners who suspect they may have fallen victim to price-gouging or storm-related scams.
Anyone who wants to use the service can call 803-799-5097 or email the group.
The association has more than 1,300 members statewide.
In another sign that things are slowly getting back to normal in South Carolina following Hurricane Matthew, state government offices are reopening.
The state Emergency Management Division reports that state offices in every county except Williamsburg County will be open Wednesday. Williamsburg County is dealing with flooding that has also affected other areas of the Pee Dee.
Officials say 13 emergency evacuation shelters are still open in the state, most of them in counties in the Florence and Myrtle Beach areas which have reported flooding following the storm
Matthew dumped as much as 15 inches of rain in some areas.
The lights are slowly going on across South Carolina as utility crews continue to restore power to homes and businesses following Hurricane Matthew.
Utility outage maps show that as of Wednesday morning, about 180,000 electric customers across the state remained without power. That’s down from 290,000 at midday Tuesday and from about 850,000 just after last week’s storm.
Many of the customers still without power are in the Pee Dee area of the state where some communities are battling flooding caused by rising rivers and streams.
Transportation officials in South Carolina say they expect a number of roads and bridges to be covered by flood waters following the heavy rains of Hurricane Matthew.
The state transportation department said in a statement Tuesday night that officials are monitoring river levels and road conditions across the northeastern corner of the state.
The agency said it has moved equipment and personnel to be ready to respond to potential flooding. Transportation workers will be ready to close roads and post detour signs when flooding occurs.
The department says it will inspect all bridges and roads before they are reopened after flooding.
Officials again warn people against driving around barricades and to avoid flooded roads and bridges.