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Astonishing Photos Capture 1,000-Year Flood In South Carolina

The unprecedented floods in South Carolina — described as a once-in-a-millennium event — have killed at least 12 people and left tens of thousands stranded.

Posted on October 5, 2015, at 9:40 p.m. ET

Mic Smith / AP

People stand on the safety of a bridge as homes sit in floodwater in a subdivision west of the Ashley river in Charleston on Oct. 5, 2015.

Unprecedented floods have killed at least 12 people in South Carolina and left tens of thousands stranded, prompting President Obama on Monday to declare a major disaster in the state.

Described as a once-in-a-millennium event, the floods also forced mass evacuations and, according to Gov. Nikki Haley, left some 40,000 people without running water.

Chuck Burton / AP

Floodwaters close in on homes on a small piece of land on Lake Katherine in Columbia on Oct. 5, 2015.

Mic Smith / AP

James Savage, left, and his girlfriend, Ianna Fincher, with her dog Lucy, kayak down Mayfield Street in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville on Oct. 5, 2015.

According to the National Weather Service, 17 inches of rain fell at Charleston International Airport from Thursday to midnight on Monday. Charleston was one of the areas that was hit the hardest by the unrelenting rains.

The State / Getty Images

Officers carry June Loch to dry land after she was rescued from her home in Columbia on Oct. 5, 2015.

Mic Smith / AP

Tara Saracina stands at her front door near Summerville after many of her neighbors left on Oct. 5, 2015.

Obama’s disaster declaration on Monday frees up federal resources for what will be a massive clean-up effort when the flood waters subside.

Chuck Burton / AP

A business is destroyed by flooding in Columbia on Oct. 5, 2015.

Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Matt Talley contacts a neighbor before taking a canoe to investigate his home in Columbia on Oct. 5.

Many of the fatalities involved trapped motorists, with photos showing nearly completely submerged vehicles. Residents were urged to stay put and avoid traveling.

Some 550 roads were closed throughout the state.

Mic Smith / AP

Brenda Shields checks the floodwaters from her porch near Summerville on Oct. 5, 2015.

Mladen Antonov / AFP / Getty Images

A drone flies over the waters of Congaree River in Columbia on Oct. 5, 2015.

Mic Smith / AP

A man makes his way through floodwaters in the parking lot of The Citadel Beach Club on Isle of Palms on Oct. 5, 2015.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.