COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Heavy rain and flash flood warnings have been issued across many parts of the Midlands for Thursday as South Carolina prepares to feel the impacts of Tropical Storm Sally.
One area known to have problems with flooding is Lake Wateree and residents in the area are bracing for heavy rain and potential flooding.
“Here we go again, here we go again, it seems like it’s happened anytime there’s even a semi-rain event we get flooded,” Lake Wateree resident and the Treasurer for the Lake Wateree Association Johnny Deal said.
Deal has lived on Lake Wateree his whole life. He said many roads and homes experience flooding with many storms that roll through the area.
“We are at the mercy of mother nature and Duke Energy,” Deal said.
He said there are a few factors that make the lake and the areas surrounding the lake prime spots for flooding.
“Number one we are at the Catawba River chain and number two is our dam as you can see doesn’t have any flood gates,” Deal said.
Duke Energy operates the dam and has already started lowering the water level of the lake in preparation of the storms, but Deal said despite taking these measures, residents worry that homes and roads will face flooding.
“The main fear is of course you have a medical incident and you need an ambulance or the police, seriously there is no way for that car to get there,” Deal said.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials are warning residents to stay off the lake over the next few days.
“You have the potential for thunderstorms, flash flooding, short periods of heavy rainfall like we are going to see over the next 2 days then postpone that trip, there’s no need to go fishing that day,” David Lucas, who works in the SCDNR Office of Media and Outreach, said.
Deal said residents should tie down anything that might blow away over the next few days.
“We have without fail, boats show up in people’s yards,” Deal said.
Deal said that residents are preparing for heavy rain tomorrow and Friday, but also any flooding that may happen on Saturday from water flowing down the catawba river.
DHEC is recommending that dam and reservoir owners also begin lowering their water levels over the next few days.
“Owners of ponds and reservoirs with functional gates or flashboards should consider operating them to provide additional storage for the anticipated rainfall,” P.E. Director of DHEC’s Dam Safety and Stormwater Permitting Division Jill Stewart said. “If there is a dam downstream of your dam and you are lowering your water level, please call the owner of that dam to advise him or her about what you are doing. Before and after the storm has passed, any accumulated trash and debris should be cleared from spillways.”
For more information visit DHEC’s dam safety program at scdhec.gov/dams.