Charleston, South Carolina shut down to visitors after major flooding

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — All roads coming into the city and peninsula of Charleston, S.C. closed Saturday morning after massive flooding in the area. reported that several water rescues were reported in the downtown area and numerous homes were flooded. There’s no word on any injuries.

While it appears Hurricane Joaquin won’t land the direct hit that some feared, communities from the Carolinas through New England nonetheless have their hands full from another storm system that’s largely stalled and, in so doing, pummeled millions with rain.

“This is not just any rain,” Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina said. “This is going to be the heaviest rain we have ever seen.”

South Carolina, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency. Coastal flood warnings were in effect from Georgia north into New Jersey, in line with the National Weather Service’s forecast of “heavy rain over a large area through Sunday evening.”

Crews in Brunswick County, North Carolina, spent Friday night checking on and evacuating residents from homes along the coast due to significant flooding there, according to the country emergency management office.

By then, from 2 to upwards of 5 inches of rainfall had already been reported in states such as Tennessee (with 5.5 inches in Columbia), South Carolina (a high of 3.5 inches on Sullivan’s Island), North Carolina (5.3 inches in Calabash) and Delaware (with over 3.5 inches along the coast).

The National Weather Service warned that some places could see as much as 12 inches of rain.

Flooding is a major concern for a number of reasons: directly from all the rains, indirectly from rivers and creeks possibly overflowing their banks, and also from storm surges fanned by strong winds (beaches off New Jersey and Delaware, for instance, had seen around 50 mph gusts by Friday.)

Compounding this is the fact that the region was already drenched.

“We’ve gotten into this pattern of lows in the Mid-Atlantic, which has had lots of rain the last two weeks,” said meteorologist Rachel Aissen. “So the ground is just saturated.”

CNN contributed to this report.