Frederick Brown didn’t want to look out his back window Monday morning.
“You look at a lake when you look at my backyard,” said Brown, who lives near Remleys Point in Mount Pleasant. “It hasn’t been this bad since (Hurricane) Hugo.”
He wasn’t alone. Anyone who lives or drives along the estuaries or the beach got a taste of the highest tide in six years. And they’ll get more Tuesday and Wednesday, especially during the later morning high tide, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.
The tide could climb as high as Monday’s 7.8- to 8-foot mark, again swamping waterside streets, streaming into marshes, sweeping over beaches and cutting into dunes. The cause is the stronger tidal pull of the moon as it orbits about as close to Earth as it gets, and onshore winds pushing more water in.
Plus, locally heavy showers could exacerbate the nuisance flooding that seems to be a regular headache lately in the Lowcountry.
“It will continue to be an issue through the next couple of days,” said meteorologist John Quagliariello, with the weather service, on Monday. “We could be back to some significant coastal flooding.”
Making matters worse, a tropical depression in the Atlantic between the Bahamas and Bermuda was forecast to become Tropical Storm Joaquin by Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is expected to pass the Lowcountry well out to sea, but will begin pushing higher swells into the Lowcountry, likely by Wednesday.
“That’s only going to keep the tide level a little higher,” Quagliariello said. “These are some of the highest levels we’ve seen in the past few years.”
The tide Monday came in about 21/2 feet above the “normal” high tide of 5.56 feet, flooding out downtown streets such as East Bay and Lockwood Boulevard and Harbor View Road on James Island, as well as a number of streets on the barrier islands.
It rose into the dunes at local beaches, leaving scarps with 3-foot drops on Sullivan’s Island, said Fire Chief Anthony Stith.
“There wasn’t any beach out there this morning. Water was up in places I’ve never seen it before,” he said.
The wrack line, the trail of debris left by the retreating tide, was up in the dunes at Folly Beach, and tide had broken through some dunes on the east end past the Washout, said Eric Lutz, interim public works director.
On the erosion-ravaged east end of Isle of Palms, the tide swept through wave-dissipation devices protecting the Ocean Club Villas and Seascape Villas condominiums in the Wild Dunes resort, and washed up to the buildings.
“There were some waves close to the top” of the devices, said David Kynoski, Wild Dunes Community Association chief operating officer.
At Main Road below the Limehouse Bridge to Johns Island, where tides and rains brought busy commuter traffic to a standstill in late August, water swept onto the road in spots but didn’t close it.
The high water, though, did stop drainage-improvement work that was underway.
Reach Bo Petersen at (843) 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.