Hard-hit Dorchester and Berkeley counties still face a big clean-up two weeks after the winter storm that slammed the state.
Damage assessments continue in both counties.
About one-third of an estimated 75,000 cubic yards of trees, limbs and other storm-related debris has been hauled away in Dorchester County, officials said.
"It's probably going to take several more weeks to completely pick everything up," said Emergency Management Department Director Mario Formisano.
North Charleston and Mount Pleasant have assisted with the work under a mutual-aid agreement. An Alabama contractor with bigger trucks will arrive soon, he said.
Preliminary costs of the storm exceed $478,000, he said.
Berkeley County faces the same sort of situation, said Supervisor Dan Davis.
"It's going to be a good while before they are through it. We've been picking up hard for a week," Davis said.
Summerville Mayor Bill Collins said the clean-up will be finished in mid-to-late March. Workers are removing about 70 cubic yards of debris daily, he said.
"We're in pretty good shape. Not everybody is happy. In a way, this is nature's pruning," he said.
Statewide, more than 1-million cubic yards of debris was left behind by the ice storm that hit Feb. 11-13, said Derrec Becker, spokesman for the state Emergency Management Division.
At least 20 counties are affected, he said.
The state is documenting its costs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the process of becoming eligible for federal assistance through a disaster declaration, he said.
Direct costs of responding to the emergency such as plowing roads, the cost of debris cleanup after the storm and any uninsured damage to infrastructure are being tabulated.
The threshold for such a declaration is $6.4 million, he said. If declared, it would be the first in the state in almost a decade.
"We feel comfortable we met the threshold," Becker said.
Overall, damage is estimated at $100 million.
State residents filed an estimated $15 million in damage claims to insurance companies because of the storm, said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service.
The State Department of Transportation has contracted with more than 300 crews to clear debris from the state's highways. At midweek, almost 160 miles of highway in 19 counties had been cleaned. That includes the removal of almost 30,000 trees that were bent over highways or had low-hanging branches over roads. The department said the work could take more than a month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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