Sean Rayford/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While rain has stopped falling in South Carolina, the deadly storm continues to bring devastation, with numerous dams breached and damage expected to top $1 billion.
Numerous dams have been breached, bridges collapsed and hundreds of roads were inundated with floodwaters, causing emergency evacuations.
President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for federal aid to help with recovery efforts, and more than 1,300 National Guard members have been deployed in the state.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 15 deaths and nearly 2,000 collisions in the state, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Heading into the storm's aftermath, Haley called it a vulnerable situation.
Tuesday, Haley said South Carolina is stronger today than it was yesterday, but the state is "still in prayer mode."
The sun even came out in South Carolina Tuesday, but the governor said, "don't let the sunshine fool you," adding that the next 36 to 48 hours will be "volatile."
This is a time of strength and taking care of each other, Haley added. The damage will be heartbreaking for a lot of people, but the state will rebuild, Haley said.
"We are going to continue to push through this," she said.
More than 500 roads in the state were severely damaged by the storm.
About 40,000 people in the state still do not have drinking water, and tens of thousands remain without power.
Officials went door-to-door Monday, checking on residents in flood-ravaged areas such as Columbia, and hundreds of people were evacuated to emergency shelters.
Officials are closely monitoring 18 dams in the state, said the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
Of those 18 dams, 9 have breached or failed completely, and one was intentionally breached to relieve pressure on it, SCEMD said.
Residents are urged to avoid driving into areas where water covers the road, as the leftover floodwaters can carry infection as well as the risk of drowning.
The storm damage occurred despite the much-feared Hurricane Joaquin missing the East Coast.
South Carolina authorities mostly switched Monday from search and rescue into "assessment and recovery mode," but Haley warned citizens to remain careful as a "wave" of water swelled downstream and dams had to be opened to prevent catastrophic failures above low-lying neighborhoods near the capital.
DanHenson1/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice Tuesday confirmed that the doors of federal prisons all over the country will swing open for an estimated 6,000 drug offenders at the end of this month.
It is the largest-ever one-time early release of federal prisoners, and it comes as a result of U.S.
Sentencing Commission and Obama Administration efforts to reduce long prison sentences given to drug offenders. It is also part of an effort to cut down jail overcrowding.
It is not just non-violent offenders who are getting their freedom, a Justice Department spokesman said -- some of those being released have been convicted of violent crime, along with drug crimes.
But the vast majority are non-violent offenders, officials said. And the sentence reductions were not for the violent portion of offenders' sentences.
However, all of the prisoners who petitioned for release had to have a public safety determination made by a judge.
The judge could elect to release the prisoner, or to keep him or her locked-up.
About one-third of the prisoners to be released between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2 are non-citizens, the Department of Justice said, and they will be turned over to Immigration and Customs officials for deportation.
Most of the former prisoners who are released into the community will still be supervised through a halfway house or home confinement, according to Justice Department officials.
“The Department of Justice strongly supports sentencing reform for low-level, non-violent drug offenders," said Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in a statement Tuesday. "The Sentencing Commission's actions - which create modest reductions for drug offenders - is a step toward these necessary reforms.”
Yates also emphasized that even with these sentence reductions, the drug offenders in question have served substantial sentences. On average, according to DOJ, each inmate has already served 8.5 years of a 10 year sentence.
A similar program was undertaken in 2007 when inmates were released for sentences for crack were deemed too harsh.
SOMATUSCANI/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- The skies over the United States have seen two incidents of commercial pilots becoming incapacitated in-flight in just two days.
A United Airlines co-pilot lost consciousness mid-flight this morning, airline officials said, one day after the captain of an American Airlines flight died mid-flight.
“This is the very reason we have two qualified pilots in the cockpit, both trained to exactly the same standards,” said ABC News aviation consultant and airline pilot John Nance.
“The only difference in landing the airplane by yourself is that there are a few things that you're going to have to reach across the cockpit for -- but they're well within reach,” Nance added “You're very well trained to be able to do this solo.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the situation is very rare -- only nine pilots have died in-flight in the past 20 years.
In one remarkable case in 2009, a 60-year-old Continental Airlines pilot died at the controls three hours into an eight-hour flight from Belgium to Newark, airline officials said at the time.
After a doctor aboard the plane determined the pilot was clinically dead, his body was moved to a crew rest area, according to the airline.
Passengers were not informed of the pilot’s death until the co-pilots landed the plane safely in New Jersey -- where several passengers received cell phone calls from friends who told them what had happened. By federal law, flights longer than eight hours are required to have three pilots on board.
“It's really up to the co-pilot, who is now the acting captain, as to whether or not to tell the passengers everything that's going on,” Nance said. “It's really an individual decision.”
According to a 2005 study from Flight Safety Digest based on FAA data, 50 health incidents involving pilots occurred between 1993 and 1998. Thirty-nine of those incidents were classified as incapacitations and 11 were impairments.
These incidents occurred on 47 flights.
Commercial airline pilots are required by the FAA to retire at age 65, and pilots over 40 must get two yearly physicals.
Eric Crama/iStock/ThinkStock(MCLEAN, Va.) -- Parents in a Virginia suburb are protesting the opening of a gun store due to its proximity to a local elementary school.
Some students at Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, can spot Nova Firearms right outside classroom windows and their parents argue the gun store's location is sending the wrong message, especially at a time when there have been a number of high-profile incidents around the country involving gun violence.
"That gun store is going to make my community less safe," said Deb Lavoy, whose daughter is a sixth grader at Franklin Sherman Elementary School. "I do not wish to deny the landlord his rent, but neither do I want more guns in my neighborhood, or a gun store as part of my daughter’s daily experience."
The store owners countered that they are complying with federal and state laws and are defending their right to remain open.
"I have every right to be here just as any other small business," store co-owner Rachel Dresser told ABC News. "We are transparent in what we do. We just needed more retail space so we expanded here." Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, whose district includes McLean, is urging the owners of Nova Firearms to move the store.
"It is simply antagonistic to our community and frightening to concerned parents to locate a store selling firearms and live ammunition literally within 60 seconds walking distance to a school entrance," Foust said.
While he conceded that Nova Firearms is allowed to sell guns at the current location near the school, he added, "this is an issue of judgment, not legality."
The store's owners relocated the shop near the elementary school after a failed attempt to expand at its previous location in Virginia. Dresser, and her co-owner James Gates, said they needed a larger location in part to offer gun-safety classes for both adults and children.
Members of the community balked when the store opened and staged a protest a week ago. The fight is also getting heated online as more than 2,000 people have signed a petition to kick-out Nova Firearms from its current location.
Even locals who do not have children at the school expressed their concern.
"I'm outraged by this. It shows poor judgment," Dr. Bita Motesharrei, a local doctor, told ABC News. "It attracts the wrong crowd."
Meanwhile, gun-rights supporters are rallying behind Nova Firearms, saying it's not a threat to the McLean community and the owners are within their legal rights to sell guns on a street that also houses an auto body shop and a bank.
Vance Gore, the PTA president at Franklin Sherman Elementary School, has two children at the school and said "the community at large is still grappling with the issue."
"I would say many parents are deeply troubled by the opening of the gun store right next to the school," Gore said.
JaysonPhotography/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- Authorities are investigating how Kiersten Cerveny, a successful doctor, wife and mother of three, died after a night out partying in Manhattan this weekend.
Cerveny lived in suburban Manhasset, Long Island, with husband Andrew Cerveny and their children. The Cervenys, both dermatologists, met in 2004 as medical residents at the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, according to their 2009 wedding announcement in the New York Times.
She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and received her medical degree from Tulane University, according to the wedding announcement, which also noted that she had a previous marriage before Andrew that ended in divorce.
Here is the timeline surrounding the dermatologist's mysterious death.
Cerveny met friends at a hotel at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, according to police sources.
The 38-year-old was out until 2:30 a.m. with her friends, using alcohol and cocaine, according to police sources.
The group went to a bar on New York City's Lower East Side, where Cerveny met a man with whom she was Facebook friends, police sources said.
Cerveny and the man left the bar between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., taking a cab to an apartment building in Chelsea, police sources said.
Surveillance video shows Cerveny and the man entering the building in Chelsea at 4:25 a.m., according to police sources, who noted that the taxi driver took them to the driver's apartment.
Cerveny was found in the apartment building lobby around 8:30 a.m. Sunday and was declared dead at Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.
One of the men she was out with had called 911, disappeared and called 911 again to check on Cerveny's status, police said.
PIECING TOGETHER THE MYSTERY:
There was no evidence of robbery or sexual assault, according to police sources, and bruises discovered on her neck were determined to be from a prior medical procedure.
Investigators brought in Cerveny's husband, as well as one of the men she was out with, to be questioned, but no one was arrested, police said.
When asked today whether her death resulted from an overdose, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, "At this juncture that is the direction this case seems to be going. We have no indication based on our investigation there is any foul play suspected. We believe at this time it had to do with the ingestion of narcotics."
Police were told Cerveny consumed a significant amount of alcohol and cocaine that night. The autopsy is pending the results of toxicology tests, according to the medical examiner's office.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The National Transportation Safety Board launched its go-team to Florida on Tuesday and will be joining the investigation into the sunken cargo ship, El Faro.
The NTSB investigators will be hoping to gather any perishable evidence first, but they will also be looking at the logs, maintenance records and the fitness of crew and captain, just as they do in plane or train crashes, officials said on Tuesday.
They also hope to recover the data recorder that was on board.
The president of the company that owned the boat, which sent a distress signal Thursday morning and has not been heard from since, said that the captain indicated that he was aware of the conditions near Hurricane Joaquin.
Phil Greene, the president and CEO of Tote Services, which owned El Faro, said that the captain explained that he understood the storm's track and had a sound plan going forward, enabling him to pass around the storm with comfort.
It is unclear to them how long the vessel may have been disabled before communications received a call Thursday morning, but Greene said typically a crew will work to restore the propeller and that process can either be done quickly or take several hours.
"I think what is regrettable in this is the fact that the vessel [El Faro] did become disabled in the path of the storm and that is what led to ultimately the tragedy," Greene said at a news conference Monday night.
The Coast Guard search, which will be run separately from the NTSB investigation, continued overnight into Tuesday morning. All told, the Coast Guard has searched an area larger than 160,574 square nautical miles, an area larger than California.
There were 33 crew members on board when the ship sank, and so far there has only been one known fatality, though that individual has not been identified nor has his body been recovered.
Capt. Mark Fedor, the Coast Guard chief of response, said on Monday that they had found one emergency rescue suit that had "unidentifiable" human remains.
Fedor said that the rescuers were being called to other reports of signs of life, so after checking that the individual was deceased, they moved on in hopes of saving someone else, Fedor said during a news conference.
"We needed to quickly move to other reports of life," Fedor said.
Scott Olson/Getty Images(LANSING, Mich.) -- The sole winner of a $310.5 million Powerball jackpot has finally come forward to claim Michigan's second-largest win for lotteries in state history -- and her reaction was priceless.
The winner, Julie Leach, 50, said she was still in "disbelief" -- adding that she told her boss that she doesn't need a raise before quitting her job at a fiberglass company.
"I don't know what to say. I'm just overwhelmed," she said during a news conference this morning.
Leach explained the night she discovered she was the winner.
"I was having a really bad night at work and I thought I better check my numbers," she said, adding that she was "shaking" when she checked her numbers. She said she went back to her work, where she is a supervisor, to ask her co-workers to check the numbers.
When asked if she will continue working, Leach said, "I quit automatically. I was done." She said it was a "nasty, dirty job" that she had for more than 20 years.
Leach said she and her partner of 36 years want to take care of their children and 11 grandchildren, and she hopes to buy property in Michigan so they can live near each other.
"I said he would have to sign a pre-nup now," she said with a laugh.
The ticket was sold at a Shell gas station in Three Rivers, Michigan, just a drive away from the border with Indiana. The drawing took place on Sept. 30
She said she's accepting the lump sum cash option of $197.4 million.
The winning numbers were 21, 39, 40, 55, 59 and Powerball 17.
The state's largest Powerball jackpot ever was $337 million, which was won by Donald Lawson on Aug. 15, 2002.
iStock/Thinkstock(CARLSBAD, Calif.) -- A mother is suing the city of Carlsbad, California, after she says police allegedly assaulted her in front of her children on the way home from a birthday party in 2013.
The 2013 incident was caught on cellphone video and shows officers pinning Cindy Hahn during the arrest.
Her lawyer, Mark Geragos, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Hahn against the city of Carlsbad and five officers. The lawsuit claims that Hahn “suffers permanent memory loss and brain trauma” as a result of the beating, and that the police reports filed about the incident were false.
“The only thing correct in this, in the documents that they filed with the court is the spelling of her name,” Geragos added.
The Carlsbad Police Department said in a statement, “We are prepared to provide a complete and detailed account of the facts of this incident in a courtroom, including what is not shown on the video released by the plaintiff’s attorney."
Hahn said the situation started when she asked a police officer about a car alarm that was going off. Hahn says she called the non-emergency police hotline to complain about the officer’s response.
Immediately after, Hahn said that same officer pulled her over for an alleged seatbelt violation. The next thing she knew, Hahn says, she was pinned to the ground.
“I was reaching for him for help. And what he did next. I have a lot of … issues with memory from the blow,” Hahn said.
Hahn originally faced up to two years in jail, charged with resisting arrest and battery. But according to Geragos, once the district attorney saw the video, those charges were dropped.
Design Pics/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has ordered at all flags in New Jersey be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday to mourn the victims of last week's shooting in Oregon.
On Monday, Gov. Christie signed an Executive Order requiring all state buildings to fly flags at half-staff "in recognition of the lives and in mourning of the passing of the victims of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon," according to a release from the office of the governor.
Gov. Christie said, "It is appropriate to recognize the victims, to honor their memories, and to mark their passing. It is with profound sadness that we mourn the devastating loss of the victims of this needless violence, and pause to offer our deepest sympathies to all those touched by this tragedy."
San Francisco Police Department(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A San Francisco man said he saw his life flash before his eyes during a terrifying fight with an armed home invader in his garage -- grabbing the suspect's gun and slapping away his knife in an incident captured on stunning video footage.
Bill Oxidean, a father of two, was in his garage when he says he was attacked by a man with a gun last Monday, he told ABC News on Monday.
"Suddenly I saw a guy walking up the street that didn't look good at all," Oxidean, 41, told ABC News. "As I brought my trash can in he ran into the garage and attacked me."
The entire encounter was caught on video, beginning when the suspect, dressed in a gray hoodie, ran up behind Oxidean. The video was released by the San Francisco Police Department.
"He came in big and bold, full force," Oxidean said. Oxidean said the suspect was a stranger.
The fight moved across the garage, and Oxidean was eventually able to get his attacker on the ground. Oxidean said he also slapped a knife away from the suspect during the struggle.
Oxidean said he then got on top of the suspect, grabbed the gun and ran from the garage.
The victim said it was "hard work and determination" that allowed him to get the gun.
"I fought that guy down," he said. "I turned around and tried to shoot him with it, but the gun was jammed."
Oxidean suffered minor injuries, but said he "saw my life flash before my eyes" during the attack. "It was a movie I didn't want to star in."
The suspect, who remained at large as of Monday, fled the scene on foot, Officer Grace Gatpandan of the San Francisco Police Department told ABC News.
A gun and knife were taken from the scene, Gatpandan said.
The suspect is described as between 23- and 27 years old, about 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, Gatpandan said. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD.
Mario Tama/Getty Images(NORTHFIELD, Vt.) — An Amtrak passenger said he heard a "really heavy thud" as the train derailed over an embankment near Northfield, Vermont, this morning, injuring seven people.
"The car was shaking from side to side and I could tell something was going off the tracks," Ian Turpin, 24, from Brooklyn, New York, told ABC News.
Then the train screeched to a halt, he said.
Train 55 -- the Vermonter -- was traveling from St. Albans, Vermont, to Washington, D.C., when it derailed after striking a rock slide on the tracks, Amtrak said.
Seven people were injured, the Federal Railroad Administration said. One crew member suffered serious injuries while two crew members and four passengers had non-life-threatening injuries, according to the FRA. Amtrak said the four hospitalized passengers have since been released.
A total of five passenger cars and the engine derailed, officials said. The train was carrying 98 passengers and four crew members, the FRA said.
"The preliminary cause of the accident is a rock slide in the path of the train," the FRA said, adding that a full investigation will be conducted to find the official cause.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said the rail is safe, calling the Vermonter "a great train line." Officials said there was no reason to believe there was any negligence; the track was recently rebuilt and state of the art.
The track is owned and maintained by the New England Central Railroad, Amtrak said. Michael Williams, spokesman for the New England Central Railroad and its parent company Genesee & Wyoming Inc., told ABC News that "as with all such incidents, there will be a full investigation to determine any learnings that could help prevent future incidents."
This accident comes just five months after an Amtrak train derailed near Philadelphia, killing eight people.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- An American Airlines pilot died mid-flight after experiencing a medical emergency Monday morning, airline officials said.
The pilot, whose name and age were not released, was flying from Boston to Phoenix when the plane was forced to land in Syracuse, New York.
There were 147 passengers on board with five crew members, including the pilot. An airline spokesperson confirmed the incident to ABC News and said it is "incredibly saddened" and is focusing on taking care of the family members and crew involved.
Recordings of the crew's communications with air traffic control, obtained via liveatc.net, show that someone on the plane called in saying that the "captain is incapacitated" and at another point, saying "pilot is unresponsive, not breathing."
The nature of the pilot's sudden illness has not been disclosed.
An airline spokesperson said that one of the flight attendants is also a nurse and was trying to assist the ill pilot.
Airlines in the United States are required to have two pilots on board, and that was true in this case as well.
ABC News(ROSEBURG, Ore.) — A student who survived the deadly shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College by pretending to be dead told ABC News about the events on that fateful day.
“I could hear everyone breathing hard and freaking out and crying,” Anastasia Boylan, 18, said. “And he [the gunman] asked everyone to move to the center of the classroom, so we all kind of army-crawled to the center.”
Boylan said she didn’t think she was going to make it.
“Last thing I remembered praying was that my family and my loved ones and that the family and loved ones of my peers would somehow know that we're all OK,” she said, “and that they could somehow find peace.”
From her wheelchair inside the Oregon hospital that helped save her from a gunshot wound to the back, Boylan recounted the terrifying nine minutes inside the Roseburg school last Thursday, when gunman Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire, killing nine people before shooting himself to death.
Boylan said he even spoke to them. “He sounded really deranged,” she said, “because he said he had been waiting to do that for a really long time and he laughed.”
The shooter picked out one student specifically to be the one who would live to tell the tale, she added.
“He said, 'The kid in the glasses, get up. I need you to do me a favor. Today's your lucky day,' and hands him this like business envelope.”
Boylan also said the man had a question for each of his victims.
“He had us all get up one by one and asked us what our religions were,” Boylan said.
One student was shot when said his religion. “The shooter said that he would only feel pain for a couple of seconds and that he would be with God soon and then he shot him,” Boylan recalled.
Boylan played dead as the suspect called out to her and kept her eyes shut. And then it was over.
“All of a sudden I heard that one kid in my class say that he was dead, ‘He's dead, he's shot in the head, everything's OK.’ I didn't want to open my eyes. I did and I looked around the classroom and it was horrible. It was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life.”
iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- The Coast Guard joined rescue efforts on Sunday near Charleston, South Carolina, as rain continued to fall on the area, part of a storm system causing flash flood emergencies and power outages along the East Coast.
Gov. Nikki Haley said Sunday afternoon that the state was experiencing its worst rains "in 1,000 years," and urged residents to stay off the roads as conditions were "changing by the minute," with roads flooding and rivers at their highest levels in decades.
The Coast Guard Charleston Sector said it was assisting with land rescues in Berkeley County, near Huger, which is northwest of Charleston.
According to the National Weather Service, one area of downtown Columbia, the South Carolina capital, received nearly 17 inches of rain in 17 hours, and it was still raining.
"We're in the middle of it," she said. "We've still got easily another 24 hours that you should be extremely careful. We've got more rainfall that's expected."
There were six weather-related fatalities in South Carolina and two weather-related death in North Carolina, according to South Carolina Emergency Management Division as of early Monday morning, bringing the total of eight deaths across the two states.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation earlier announced Sunday that one of its workers died in flood waters in Columbia.
Columbia’s police department announced that authorities will commence concentrated search and rescue operations Monday morning. The operation includes helping residents of Columbia and Richland County residents who need to be evacuated. Those citizens who are rescued will be taken out of the flood zone in military vehicles and transported by bus to a designated safe zone shelter, said the department. Crews will also mark a bright orange ‘X’ on the front door of a house that had been checked.
The National Weather Service Charleston South Carolina tweeted that the flash flood warning for Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties was extended until 9:30 Monday morning.
South Carolina Emergency Management also reported that 10 counties or municipalities have declared states of emergency, while eight counties or municipalities have imposed overnight curfews.
Some 30,000 customers were without power, and a 75-mile stretch of I-95 was closed as a result of the flooding.
Over the next two days, parts of eastern South Carolina and North Carolina could receive 10 more inches of rain.
Other sections of South Carolina experienced incredible amounts of rain. Columbia received over 7 inches Saturday night, while North Myrtle Beach accumulated over 15 inches worth of water in the past few days.
South Carolina's Greenville-Spartanburg Airport got 2.3 inches of rain Saturday, breaking the record of 0.77 inches back in 1961, according to NWS meteorologist John Tomko.
On Sunday, the rain will begin to pivot and slip north and east toward the border of North Carolina and South Carolina and near the coastline. The combination of saturated ground and winds will likely bring down trees, as winds along the coastline will be gusting up to 30 miles per hour.
A flash flood emergency was issued for Berkeley and Charleston counties, with catastrophic flash flooding expected, according to NWS. A flash flood emergency was also issued for southern portions of Dorchester County, the NWS tweeted, which was characterized as a "life-threatening situation."
Meanwhile, Charleston County Emergency Management reported swift water rescues taking place in Charleston, North Charleston, Ladson, Cainhoy and Awendaw, with evacuations continuing in Shadowmoss.
Mario Formisano, emergency management director for Dorchester County, said that the flooding has been widespread and that there were about 140 rescues Saturday evening into Sunday morning. He added that SUVs and trucks were being used to rescue trapped residents, and that those rescued or evacuated were taken to Summerville High School.
According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division early Sunday morning, more than 29,000 electric customers were without power throughout the state. It also reported that there are 83 road closures across South Carolina, 46 of them in Charleston County.
In downtown Charleston Saturday, roads were closed to incoming traffic as rain flooded roads and left some drivers stranded as their vehicles were surrounded by water. Meanwhile, inland parts of South Carolina were also hit hard by the rain.
The mid-Atlantic region was also affected by flooded roads and power outages were reported in several states.
On Friday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley emphasized the seriousness of the storm during a press conference: "We're going see rainfall at historic levels. This will be a historic rainfall event that we've never seen before in South Carolina."
In response to the storm, President Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, which will bring federal assistance to state and local efforts.