Columbia storm worried victims of October flood

This dam in Columbia is one of 48 that haven't been repaired in the 10 months since record floods.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A powerful storm Monday night dumped between three and five inches or rain on Columbia in a short time, causing some flash floods and triggering anxiety in some victims of the record flooding that hit the city last October.

Lynne Higgins of Hopkins says when the storm hit Monday, she immediately thought about the flood ten months ago. “My driveway’s like a quarter-mile long and it washed it out, and it was like a $12,000 project to get it fixed, and my house itself is still not right, as far as being level thanks to the water rushing up underneath the house,” she says. “So I was just like, ‘Oh no, not again!'”

Monday night’s storm activated SCDOT emergency maintenance crews at 6:30 p.m., and they worked until 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, mostly dealing with flash flooding that forced the closure of five roads. Downed trees also blocked roads in at least 15 locations.

The record rainfall that fell in October caused 49 state-regulated dams to fail, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. None of those dams is owned by the state. Most are privately owned, and it will be up to those private owners to pay to repair them. DHEC says only one of those failed dams has been fixed, but as of May 23rd DHEC has issued 13 permits to repair dams.

After so many dam failures, state lawmakers talked about beefing up DHEC’s dam safety program, but did not change any rules or regulations. However, lawmakers did put money in this year’s budget to hire seven more full-time employees to work in the dam safety program.

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