OHS alumna witnesses South Carolina flooding


Margie Morgan

Maggie Mallete, far right, a member of the 2015 OHS graduating class, experienced firsthand the vast flooding in Columbia, South Carolina.

This October, South Carolina experienced an extremely dangerous flood. The flood affected the entire state and took the lives of 17 people.

“We are at a 1,000-year level of rain,” South Carolina governor Nicki Haley said at a news conference during the flood.

“1000-year rainfall” means that the state has a 1-in-1,000 chance of having that amount of rain any given year.

Certain areas in South Carolina had never been recorded as having as much rain, including the Columbia area, which reportedly got more than 18 inches.

Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, where former Oxford High School student Maggie Mallette is attending college. During the flood, since all classes were cancelled for safety reasons, she made the trip back to Oxford.

“It didn’t really pour; it just rained a lot for a really long time,” the freshman college student said. “It felt like we hadn’t seen the sun in forever.”

It took some time for South Carolina students – such as Mallette – to realize how impactful all the rain was.

“At first when classes were cancelled, we were just excited,” Mallette said. “We had no idea we were part of this natural disaster until we looked on the news and read that it was a state of emergency.”

The city took steps to keep the residents safe.

“They cut off our water, and then they gave the whole city a curfew of 6 o’clock for safety purposes,” Mallette said.

She said the students started to get restless as the weekend went by.

“We started to get cabin fever after a few days, and it was actually really bad,” she added. “People bathed in the water and got eye infections because the sewage system and the flooding system broke and ran together.”

According to Mallette, the flooding hit Columbia by surprise.

“Columbia wasn’t really prepared because it isn’t coastal – it’s about 100 miles inward,” the freshman said.

Nonetheless, Mallette is proud of how her new school handled the disaster.

“One of the reasons I chose South Carolina was because it is all about service,” she said. “The president is all about making sure his students have opportunities for service.

“As soon as the hurricane happened, the students at our school were finding ways to help. Students had a donation drive, and so many people donated that they had to get more volunteers to help organize all of it – which I think is really great, that so many people wanted to help out.”