City of Columbia, Five Points businesses prepare for possible flash flooding

City of Columbia, Five Points businesses prepare for possible flash flooding

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In Five Points, Dr. Kelly Hynes is getting ready for what could be coming.

"It can happen within like five minutes or ten minutes," she said.

Dr. Hynes, who's an ophthalmologist at 20/20 Vision, has an office in a spot that's been known to flood near the corner of Blossom Street and Saluda Avenue.

Her office flooded in 2014. In 2015 and again in 2016, the area across the street flooded. Products were swept out into Blossom Street by rising water during an August 2016 flood.

On March 30, localized flooding happened again in the area beside Walgreens.

"Right now is when all the small leaves are coming down, so there've been lots of leaves, you know, and yard trash and everything, so that had kind of floated down and there were lots of leaves blocking the drain. There were small ones and big ones," she said.

Right now, Hynes is worried about what Wednesday might bring.

"By the time you realize it's going to flood, often it's too late to actually do anything about it because it's already happened," she said.

It's not a new problem, but Dr. Hynes said the city has been more proactive at making sure the drains are in working order.

Public Works Director Robert Anderson said the city has been doing that all this week ahead of Wednesday's possible severe weather.

"We've followed our standard practice. What we do is go check our flood-prone areas, make sure our catch basins are open, make sure our storm drain system is functioning as good as it can, making sure our trash crews – when they're picking up trash – try to rake out the storm drains, and making sure that the gutter lines take all they can," Anderson said.

The city will have crews ready to go on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Hynes will also be ready to lend a helping hand.

"I keep the boots here," she said with a smile. "Yes, I do."

Dr. Hynes said if anything could be improved, it's communication. She'd like to see a text-alert system or some kind of system to alert businesses when localized flooding starts to happen.

The city actually has some cameras in that area and gauges inside Rocky Branch Creek to get real-time data about conditions. It's likely they'll have eyes on those tools Wednesday.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.