Floodwaters from the Edisto River receding thanks to drier weather in the Lowcountry

  • Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013 1:52 a.m., Updated: Saturday, July 27, 2013 1:53 a.m.
The Edisto River rises up to homes and has washed out the dirt road that led to the river off of Parkers Ferry Road Thursday July 18, 2013. Grace Beahm/Staff Buy this photo

The floodwaters that encroached on some Lowcountry residents along the Edisto River are finding their way back to the confines of the river’s banks thanks to some drier weather.

“It’s going down, but it’s still higher than last year,” said Jeannine Laban, who lives along the Edisto River near Ravenel. Laban, a kindergarten teacher at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, said the family saw flooding creep into their yard and swamp their driveway.

She said the biggest issues the floodwaters have left behind were dead grass and flowers, along with a noticeable “musty, mildewy” smell. During the worst of the flooding, water covered the 400-foot wooden boardwalk that connects the Laban family home to the river. The boardwalk looks much different now that the water has receded.

“The dock looks like a roller coaster now,” she said.

John Shelton, assistant director for the U.S. Geological Survey in South Carolina, said the water levels in the Edisto River have dropped almost 3 feet in the past week and are now a little more than 10 feet.

“We expect that decline to continue,” he said. “Things are drying up.”

The Edisto River is still technically at flood stage — 10 feet or above — according to Shelton. A flood warning for Dorchester and Colleton counties was to remain in effect until 5 a.m. today.

Shelton said one of the reasons the water lingered was because of the area’s geography.

“That part of the state is so flat, it seems slow because it’s a lot of water to get rid of,” Shelton said.

The National Weather Service website stated that as of 1 p.m. Friday, the Edisto River near Givhans Ferry was at 10.08 feet and that minor flooding was occurring in the area. The site said that with the river at 10 feet, water affects the ends of numerous river access roads in the area.

Forecasts had the river falling to just below the 10-foot flood stage by Friday night.

The weekend could bring rain back to the area.

There is a 20 percent chance of rain Saturday and a 50 percent chance of rain Sunday.

Flooding throughout the Lowcountry has become commonplace this summer, and the Weather Service reported that rainfall totals in the Charleston area are 15 to 20 inches above average.

“We’ve received an incredible amount of rain in the last few months, but the state has been in a drought for years,” said Shelton.

He said that despite the flooding some areas have seen, the plentiful rain has “been a benefit to South Carolina’s water resources.” As of Friday afternoon, Lake Marion was at 76.5 feet, about three inches below full pool and Lake Moultrie was at 75.3 feet, two inches below full pool.

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