Downtown deluge a torment for Charleston

Flooding on Market Street during afternoon rain Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in Charleston. (Paul Zoeller/

Flash floods ripped across the peninsula Wednesday after 4 p.m., confounding travelers across the Lowcountry.

Audrey Robinson, a member of the Nichols Chapel AME Church on Bogard Street, near the Crosstown, said summer campers were stuck inside the church until around 8:30 p.m., when flooding had subsided.

“I know they’re supposed to be fixing the drain system, but I don’t really see much improvement,” Robinson said.

Angie Villegas was unable to drive home when the storms hit Wednesday night near the church.

“I’m baby-sitting here, so I definitely had to walk home,” Villegas said. “It took me like an hour and a half to get to West Ashley, which would normally take 15 minutes.”

The President Market on President Street was flooded to the top step of the store. Rashe Ali, the manager of the store, said the flooding started around 6 p.m., and he had to lock up the store around 10 p.m. Ty’Quan Green, an employee, said he couldn’t get to the store to work his shift.

Some, like MUSC assistant professor Mike Wheeler, were able to escape before the flooding happened near the campus on Ashley Avenue.

“I left at 4:30 p.m. and got home at 5 p.m.,” Wheeler said. “I had no problems.”

Wheeler was able to cut across on Calhoun Street to East Bay Street before high tide hit the peninsula.

Kate Carlier, manager of the Savannah Bee Company on King Street, wondered who is in charge of fixing the drainage problems in the city.

“It’s bad for business. It’s bad for people,” Carlier said. “It’s a problem for everyone.”

Justin Hansen, manager at Old Towne Grill and Seafood, said the restaurant was crowded with people trying to sit out the deluge.

“We were busy from it,” Hansen said. “More people came out because of it.”

Hansen said that employees were arriving and staying late because of traffic.

Reach Nick Watson at 937-4810.