Flooded streets and power outages were the story Saturday in Charleston, with water levels especially high near downtown’s hospitals.
The city’s medical district is off Calhoun Street near Lockwood Boulevard and the Lockwood marina and is home to the Medical University of South Carolina, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and the county’s Roper-St. Francis Hospital.
First responders had to divert patients to other hospitals overnight because of flooding around the district, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said.
“The medical district has a lot of water,” Teckleburg said. “We need to see how fast the water is going to recede in the medical district, but there’s serious localized flooding all around the hospitals.”
No injuries were reported overnight from the residents who chose to ride out the storm in their homes, said Jack O’Toole, city spokesman. A few cars got stuck in standing water, but the drivers were not injured, he said.
Jamie McAlister stared down flooded Broad Street, between Franklin and New streets, and said downtown was lucky.
“I expected to have boats in the middle of the street like we had during (Hurricane) Hugo,” McAlister said. “I think we were really lucky.”
McAlister, who lives on Broad Street, rode out the storm overnight. He said at times he worried that he should have left. But eventually he just hit the sack.
“I just went to bed, woke up, and everything was fine,” McAlister said. “I thought it was going to be worse.”
The water was wrecking havoc with downtown homes – and trees – on the lower part of the peninsula.
High tide didn’t help.
High tide hit at 1 p.m., raising the water levels in the streets again several hours after the worst of the storm had passed.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said the city has reports of about 50 downed trees or limbs. Around 100 roadways throughout the city are completely closed due to flooding, he said just before noon.
“It’s important for people to stay off the streets,” he said.
Teckleburg deferred giving the “all clear” to return to the city to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and Gov. Nikki Haley, stressing that city officials can’t make a call for the condition of the roads that connect to the city.
Out of an abundance of caution and due to the complex design of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge between Charleston and Mount Pleasant, the S.C. Department of Transportation has closed the bridge until an engineering inspection can be completed. Specialized engineers will begin their review as soon as weather conditions permit, according to a DOT spokesman.