Weekend rains cause flooding and power outages

Photo Credit: Michelle Nugent

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Rapid rainfall and flash flooding are setting up a destructive pattern for the records books across the Midlands. Severe storms dumped more than nine inches of rain over the course of the the last six days, and it's had an immediate impact.

The university's rain gauge in downtown Columbia recorded 3.24 inches of rainfall from 5:40 to 6:40 p.m. sunday. The 50 year event for that location is 3.37 inches. For the average person, that may not sound like much, but one inch of rainfall in a 60 minute period is significant. This location tripled a more average criteria flash flood event.

Over the last six days, the Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport recorded 9.33 inches of rain. The airport hasn't seen rainfall like that since 1991.

Severe downpours over the weekend caused extensive flooding in the Midlands.

Sunday evening, rain totals in Columbia measured over three inches in one hour. Strong wind gusts were also measured.

Officials say high winds and heavy rains caused some extensive problems around the city.

Standing water accumulated in areas prone to flash flooding, including Five Points, Main and Whaley Streets, Millwood Avenue, Beltline Boulevard and other points around downtown Columbia.

The rainfall's impacts on the Midlands drought conditions have been somewhat positive. Locations like Lake Marion and Lake Moultire were approaching drought conditions not seen since 2007's devastating drought.

Different basins around the state received different amounts of drought relief. The Savannah Basin did not fair as well as the central part of the state.

It's debatable whether this is a sign of an upcoming pattern or an isolated event. Rainfall patterns are more favorable for overcoming longterm droughts. All of the recent rainfall may just be a drop in the bucket considering the upcoming La Nina setup for the winter. A La Nina event has historically provided warmer, drier winters which can impact crop production and forest fires in early spring.

At one point, SCE&G reported as many as 8,000 customers without power. Cable was also knocked out for several customers across the Midlands thanks to downed trees and limbs.

With so much water falling from the sky in such a short time, drainage systems proved unable to keep up causing repeated headaches for motorists and property owners.

Should something be done to increase storm drainage in Columbia, or is it just a typical problem every municipality has to tolerate? Vote in our poll below and leave a comment.