Tropical Storm Chantal begins to break up; lots of rain expected to hit Lowcountry anyway

Umbrellas come out as Market Street floods during an afternoon downpour June 19 in downtown Charleston. Buy this photo

Rain — a lot more — is on the way.

All wet

38.68 inches

Rain for the year through Tuesday.

15.24 inches

Rain since June 1.

22.59 inches

Rainfall for 2012.

23.61 inches

Normal year to date.

2-3 inches (or more)

Forecast through early next week.

River levels

Edisto near Givhans, moderate flooding.

Upper Santee at Lake Marion dam, near flood stage.

Lower Santee near Jamestown, minor flooding.

Source: National Weather Service, Charleston.

Several inches are expected to sop the saturated Lowcountry starting Thursday and lasting into early next week.

That’s not even the worst of it. The rain is being pulled out of the tropics by a weather front coming across the United States. The front is predicted to stall out when it gets here. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Chantal is forecast to come along behind it all, arriving somewhere in the Southeast on Sunday.

As of this morning Chantal was becoming disorganized as it neared Puerto Rico, but could still yield rain of its own.

“If that storm comes on top of (the front), it could bring its own rain,” said meteorologist Bob Bright with the National Weather Service, Charleston. “Two to three inches, locally heavier, especially if we get a tropical storm or hurricane.”

Just in time for another summer weekend. Feel better?

“Terrible. We’re definitely not looking forward to it,” said Ginny Provost, of Blue Waters Commercial Pool Maintenance. The company’s pool technicians have scrambled all season backwashing pools brimming with rainwater, adding more chemicals — and dodging lightning. There’s no job security working with a 16-foot-long metal pole during a thunderstorm.

“Lightning starts popping, you take cover,” Provost said.

Already this year the Lowcountry has been doused with nearly twice as much rain as normal. That’s according to the official weather service gauge at Charleston International Airport.

Residents keeping track in spots around Charleston have poured a lot more than that out of their gauges. Rivers are so swollen that the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has cautioned boaters and tubers about getting into the streaming waterways.

The combination of rain, saturated ground and high water spells flood.

The typical flood-prone spots in downtown Charleston will go under if they get a rapid, heavy rain, especially at high tide. Low-lying road stretches and grounds throughout the wetland Lowcountry haven’t fully drained from the last rage of downpours. “Fortunately, we’ve had these several days to dry out a little,” said meteorologist Bright.



Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.

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