And the floods came ...

Officials are still trying to figure out what went wrong with the city's drainage system Friday, which left many parts of downtown flooded as record rains drenched the city.

The Post and Courier's Robert Behre writes today about the flooding around East Bay and Calhoun, even though a modern, multimillion-dollar drainage system was installed for the area nine years ago.

From The Post and Courier:

Charleston Public Services Director Laura Cabiness said she was monitoring the station's four pumps — a new one was added recently — from her home as the rain fell Friday afternoon; and she came downtown after one, then another, shut down.

She said the station always had two pumps operating, and that should have been enough. The pumps are designed to cycle on and off, and two of them can handle the heaviest rains, such as what fell Friday afternoon, when the water came down briefly at the rate of 7 inches an hour.


The drains near the building or farther down Calhoun could have clogged with pine straw, oak leaves and other debris. "The first time you get one of these rains after a while, there's more debris out there, and it's drier and it floats faster," she said.

Also, part of Washington Street is in a different drainage basin, and that could have filled up and spilled over into the Calhoun-East Bay basin.


"All the folks we work with at the city are great people, but it seems the system isn't working properly," he said. "We want to help and assist in any way we can, but we want to know that they're doing their best as well."

And this certainly wasn't the only area of downtown that faced a flooding problem Friday. As the city of Charleston's stormwater drainage improvement efforts continue, for now it looks we'll all be dealing with the same problem that Charlestonians have always faced ...

A scene of the flooded downtown road, Jonathan Lucas Street, during a flood in October 2006:

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