Storm causes flash flooding around Columbia

jmonk@thestate.comJuly 21, 2013 

— A heavy downpour Sunday evening brought rare flash flooding to parts of Columbia, including Earlewood and Forest Acres.

Earlewood Park -- including the NOMA Bark Park -- flooded when several inches of rain fell within the span of 90 minutes in the city. The water reached halfway up the fence that circles the popular dog park. Flooding also was reported along North Main Street.

At Smith branch near Earlewood Park, the USGS monitor recorded up to 15.12 feet at the height of the storm; the previous high mark was 11.9 feet. Smith Branch had topped 10 feet only 10 times ever, with a record of 11.91. It hit 15.12 feet tonight at North Main.

A trained spotter report from Dentsville to the National Weather Service Columbia office recorded 3.48 inches of rain in two hours; in Lexington, 4.56 inches in the last few hours. 

Residents posted photos on social media of flood streets near Forest Acres. The Avenues in West Columbia also had flooded.

The Columbia Police Department threw police car blockades on Blossom Street near Five Points as the rain accumulated there. The flash flood had receded shortly after 9 p.m.

The USGS monitor at Rocky Branch near Main and Whaley reported major flooding during the downpour, recording a high of 11.37 feet, making it the third highest level recorded; the record is 12.38 feet. Rocky Branch at Whaley and Main went from 2.14 feet to 11.46 feet between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

The rain gauge at Pickens Street crested at 9.74 feet; flood stage is a little more than 7 feet. This was the fourth highest reading at that site.

At Columbia Metro Airport, the NWS Columbia office recorded 1.95 inches of rain in an hour. At Hamilton-Owens Airport, 1.78 inches fell in an hour.

SCE&G reported 3,700 customers were experiencing power outages as of 9 p.m.

Areas affected include the popular but low-lying Five Points night club and restaurant district, as well as all of Columbia, Forest Acres, Arcadia Lakes, neighborhoods along North Main Street, Eau Claire and Elmwood communtities, the NWS said.


Staff writer Joey Holleman contributed to this report

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