Battery flooding Feb. 20

Joggers endure standing water near the Battery on Wednesday morning, Feb. 20, 2019, after an unusually high tide and rain showers produced flooding conditions in lowlying areas. Lauren Petracca/Staff

A spattering of rain showers and higher-than-usual tide levels Wednesday morning was a recipe for significant flooding in some areas of downtown Charleston.

The National Weather Service had issued a coastal flood warning, advising that rain showers coinciding with high tide could yield up to two feet of flooding in low-lying areas near shorelines.

Beaufort, Charleston and coastal Colleton counties are all under the warning, which was slated to expire at 11 a.m., forecasters said. High tide came around 8:23 a.m. The areas surrounding the southern portion of Lockwood Drive and the east side of the Battery appeared to be most visibly affected by flooding during the morning hours.

On the forecast front, rain was expected through most of the morning, creating a potential headache of a situation on roadways for commuters, as "numerous" roads are expected to be closed due to flood inundation. Most of the rain was expected before 10 a.m., the Service said.

By 10 a.m., the tide height at Charleston Harbor registered at about 8 feet, which is right on the threshold for what officials consider "major" flooding. The levels are considered to have reached flood stage at 7 feet.

East and south battery flooding, Feb. 20

Standing flood water at the east and south Battery intersection following Wednesday morning rain showers and an unusually high tide. Lauren Petracca/Staff

On Tuesday evening, the city of Charleston issued a travel advisory that will remain in effect between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday, as the usually high tides heavy winds are expected to bring “significant tidal flooding,” according to a statement by the city.

“As conditions remain favorable for flooding related to tidal influences ... I want to urge motorists to exercise caution, and remain alert to the possibility of standing water on our roadways,” Shannon Scaff, Charleston’s director of emergency management, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Harleston Village, Patricia Owens has seen plenty of floods in the 15 years she’s lived in her home at Barre and Beaufain streets. The creek behind her house is connected to the Ashley River, and it was already flowing into the street at 8:30 a.m.

Even during a hurricane, the water has only ever reached the bottom step of her porch, but the floods are getting more and more frequent, she said.

“We see it more often now, because it’s just my opinion, there’s no available land for the water to go,” Owens said.

But for her, the water covering the road to her house every so often has become a fact of life.

“You kind of get used to it,” Owens said. “The trouble is, it’s higher than it ever was before (during a high tide). It hasn’t been like this until recently.”

Police encourage all drivers to respect barricades and not drive through standing water of unknown depth.

Confirmed road closures:

  • Wentworth Street to Barre Street

Keep checking for regular updates concerning closures, forecast and flooding details.

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Reach Michael Majchrowicz at 843-937-5591. Follow him on Twitter @mjmajchrowicz.

Michael Majchrowicz is a reporter covering crime and public safety. He previously wrote about courts for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. A Hoosier native, he graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.

Chloe Johnson covers the coastal environment and climate change for the Post and Courier. She's always looking for a good excuse to hop on a boat.

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