City of Charleston leaders, officials searching for ways to improve flood prevention after weekend floods

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Flood recovery continues in Downtown Charleston on Monday after a near record rainfall event. Several roads were left underwater and more than two dozen were left needing help. City officials say they are looking for ways to be better prepared ahead of pop-up downpours.

City crews have been cleaning up since Saturday sweeping roads and surveying for potential damage. Nearly 6 inches of rain fell between Friday and Sunday leading to 18 roads being closed for portions of the weekend. City officials say it’s just another reason the city and residents should always be prepared.

“It was awful like I couldn’t even walk outside and it was like difficult to get to places so it was just horrible,” says a Charleston resident.

Of the 6 inches falling over three days, nearly 4 inches fell on Saturday which led to significant flooding. Market vendors and some Charleston residents say it was the most flooding they’ve ever seen.

“I mean yeah for this summer, I think it’s been the worst it’s been,” says a Charleston resident.

The flooding forced roads and businesses to close and left people stranded on streets. Shannon Scaff, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Charleston, says the event was like the perfect storm.

“I think there has been some complacency maybe in that we haven’t really seen a significant event of this magnitude in quite some time,” says Scaff. “In fact I believe it was the sixth wettest rain event on record for June in Charleston.”

Scaff says preparation for significant weather events starts with communication, shifting to recovery and then to cleanup.

“What we’ve done in the last three years is really standardize our processes so we’re predictable with one another in terms of what our responsibilities are,” says Scaff.

Preparation also includes continually searching for improvements to flood prevention on methods being considered purchasing water pumps to attack flooding.

“We can sort of deploy in the nick of time to maybe set up and have ready to go to take water and kind of speed up that drainage process,” says Scaff.

Flooding is a major issue for the city but also an issue high on the minds of city leaders. For now, Scaff says it’s important to ready in the event of rain.

“It serves as a reminder to folks to be aware of our weather conditions because they are rapidly changing in Charleston and we need to be prepared,” says Scaff.

Part of the efforts to continually improve flood prevention, Charleston City Council will discuss it’s comprehensive plan and flood prevention methods at it’s upcoming July City Council meeting.

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