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Rain water inundates Edisto Beach

by | June 20, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: June 19, 2019 at 10:42 am

Edisto Beach Town Administrator Iris Hill invited representatives of Colleton County Emergency Management for a day at the beach June 13.
They were not there to enjoy the surf and the sand. The water they would be looking at covered the town’s streets, and they were bringing along their own sand.
“I asked Colleton County Emergency Management to survey the area so the county would have a better understanding about our situation when we report flooding on Edisto,” Hill explained.
“We are appreciative of the county and South Carolina Department of Transportation’s response to this situation,” Hill said
A rain gauge on Edisto Beach registered 7.5 inches of rain on June 12. The National Weather Service reported 6.21 inches at a rain gauge stationed in Green Pond. By comparison, the two rain gauges in Walterboro registered rainfall of 1.81 inches and one inch in the same 24-hour period.
“With successive rainfall events, the amount of rain we received on Wednesday caused severe flooding,” Hill said. “It was almost as bad as hurricane flooding.”
Water flooded approximately 25 percent of Edisto Beach’s streets. By Friday June 14, Hill said some of the town’s streets were still underwater.
The heavy rains also flooded Bennetts Point Road, making access to that coastal community difficult.
In addition to the heavy rains, Edisto Beach faced high tides, which slowed the water from receding.
Emergency Management arrived at Edisto Beach bearing gifts — 2,000 sand bags. The county’s Public Works Department sent along sand to fill those sand bags.
“The sand and sand bags are available to residents to protect their homes now and in preparation of the upcoming hurricane season,” Hill said.
Colleton County Engineer Carla Harvey, a member of the Colleton County Emergency Management’s response team, also make the trip to Edisto Beach.
“Our mission was damage assessment so we could provide information to the State Emergency Management Department as well as addressing recovery needs,” she said.
Harvey said that during that visit, it appeared that the town’s public infrastructure (roads, drainage) did not appear to be harmed by the floodwaters, but a final determination cannot be made until the water recedes.
Harvey said her assessment of the beach town showed that there had been some private property damage caused by the flood. “At this time it appears to be primarily storage-only areas on the underside of houses flooded with only one known primary residence flooded.
“We will continue to monitor, document and provide resources until the water has receded,” Harvey said.
In addition to assessing last week’s flooding, Harvey said she was also “observing drainage patterns and areas in need for future drainage upgrades.”
Hill said the town will continue to assess flooding programs including road closures and potential ways to remedy future flooding.
Hill said addressing the flooding issues long term will have to involve the county and the South Carolina Department of Transportation, as “most of our roads are state maintained.”

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