Grace Beahm // The Post and Courier
Sarah Mitchell was delighted when her dog Sadie rode a surfboard on a street near her Folly Beach home Wednesday, but the storms that brought flash flooding also brought high winds, fallen tree limbs and power outages. After the water receded, the big question was, did it help the drought?
FOLLY BEACH -- Slow-moving thunderstorms dumped nearly 8 inches of rain here Wednesday morning and blew trees into power lines, causing flash flooding and power outages, but was there enough rain to put an end to the drought?
"Certainly, in the areas that received six to eight inches of rainfall," said Jon Jelsema, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's office in Charleston.
But Wednesday's rainfall was limited to an area along the coast from Edisto Beach to Folly Beach and about 10 miles inland, Jelsema said. "Back toward Summerville, they got nothing."
Atmospheric conditions on Wednesday were unusually favorable for the storms to be heavy with rain and to move very slowly, Jelsema said. Radar indicated at least 6 to 8 inches fell in a period of about five hours, he said.
Though Wednesday's rain affected only a small area along the coast, the rainfall the region has had recently has helped relieve drought conditions, Jelsema said.
Folly Beach Public Safety officers closed several streets on the east side of Folly Beach after they became impassable. At least four vehicles were stuck in the water, but everyone got out safely, Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown said.
South Carolina Electric & Gas reported as many as 2,000 people on Folly Beach were without power for several hours. Those outages were caused by trees knocking down power lines, said Stephanie Jones, an SCE&G spokeswoman.
Also, several tree limbs in peninsular Charleston fell Wednesday afternoon and blocked streets to traffic until the limbs could be removed. Danny Burbage, superintendent of the city's Urban Forestry Division, said the limbs fell not because of wind but because they got very heavy after the heavy rain.
"It's happening across the South," Burbage said. "After four to five weeks of extremely hot and dry weather, the leaves and limbs are very dry and when there is a heavy rain, they soak up the moisture, and the limbs fail."
Rain statistics recorded at the National Weather Service at Charleston International Airport:
For the year
For the month