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SC's Hunting Island State Park to remain closed into weekend following rains

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Hunting%20Island%204%20%20by%20Sandy%20%20Dimke.jpg (copy)

Trees fallen by erosion created a boneyard beach on Hunting Island. File/Sandy Dimke/Provided

Editor's note update: SCPRT spokeswoman Dawn Dawson-House said Thursday the park will stay closed through the weekend because floodwaters are not draining as quickly as hoped.

Water is still standing on the roads in Hunting Island State Park after a storm drenched the southern part of South Carolina's coast Tuesday. 

In addition to the flooding, two trees were uprooted from the soggy ground. Roads to the landmark lighthouse, picnic areas and parking for the beach have all been blocked by water. 

The park expects to open sometime Friday, S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism spokeswoman Dawn Dawson-House said, though it might not be ready to welcome guests. More rain is expected in the coming days and park officials want time for it to drain. 

Hunting Island only recently re-opened its lighthouse for scheduled visits. The rest of the park (and all other state parks) re-opened May 1 after closing in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

From 7 a.m. on Tuesday to 7 a.m. on Wednesday, a rain gauge with a volunteer observation program on Hunting Island measured nearly 10 inches of rain. The National Weather Service office in Charleston said there was nearly a foot of water over the course of two days on the island.

An inland low pressure system sent bands of rain out throughout the day Tuesday, including across Charleston, to the north. Weather Service forecaster Brittany MacNamara said that in some places, the precipitation was concentrated. 

"We had these cells and they were mainly stationary right over the same area," she said. 

The rainfall amounts across Beaufort County are in line with tropical weather, though the low had none of the spin, surge or lashing winds that come with a cyclone. 

Dawson-House said the last time Hunting Island closed for flooding was after Hurricane Irma in 2017. That storm dropped 9 inches on Beaufort County, but over a much longer period of three days.

Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.

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