Irma shows force in downtown Charleston, heavy floods

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – After crushing the Caribbean and southern Florida, Irma turned north on Monday, causing fresh damage throughout much of South Carolina, and bringing some of the worst flooding in Charleston.

The massive storm’s rain bands prompted emergency officials in Charleston to urge residents to stay indoors until floodwaters receded. At that time, the Battery was pounded by storm surges, which broke over the sea wall in the harbor.

The National Weather Service placed a tornado warning over Charleston, which expired at 3:15 p.m., and then a flash-flood warning for the area was also announced, with about 8 inches of water expected.

Dozens of streets in the Charleston area closed, as heavy wind and rains inundated the coast and caused downed tree limbs and power lines. The water went hip-deep and cars became stranded along impassable roads,

The flooding was high enough that some residents traveled the high waters by kayak.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told News 2 that Irma created worse conditions than previous storms, including Matthew and floods that took place in 2015.

“When we had a direct hit from Matthew we had less flooding because it occurred right at low tide and today’s event was at high tide,” Tecklenburg said.

He said Charleston will dry-out soon and the city will start to clean up debris from the storm and restore power for those without electricity.

“We’ll be back to order in short order,” Tecklenburg said. “We’re going to focus tomorrow on clearing roads and clearing trees that are down.”


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