COLUMBIA, S.C., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- At least five people were killed and hundreds of water rescues took place in the region over the weekend as historic rain poured down on South Carolina.
The state is being slammed by a weather event Haley said happens once every 1,000 years.
A crushing combination of moisture from Hurricane Joaquin with a low-pressure system dumped more than a foot of rain on many parts of the state. South Carolina has taken the brunt of it, but heavy weather doused the East Coast as far north as New Jersey.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina.
Joaquin was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, and has turned back over the Atlantic Ocean toward Bermuda, though the rain could continue through Wednesday. Flash flood warnings were in effect through Monday evening.
Meanwhile the U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy searched for the El Faro a 790-foot American cargo ship missing since Thursday morning near the Bahamas when Joaquin was lashing the region. The ship had 33 people aboard when crew members reported the ship was flooding and its engine had died.
An oil sheen, containers and life preservers were spotted by search crews in the area but cannot be linked to the El Faro. So far, the search has covered more 70,000 nautical miles and was expected to continue Monday.