A complex of heavy thunderstorms formed over the Columbia, SC area last Sunday, July 21, 2012. The heavy rains resulted in what is known as an extreme rain event. That means that rainfall for the day had to equal or exceed 2.52 inches to be in the top 1% (99th percentile) based on the current climate statistics. The official total at the National Weather Service Forecast Office was 2.55 inches, thus an extreme rainfall day.
The slow moving thunderstorms unleashed a torrent of rain producing two to five inches of rain in a couple of hours. The highest rainfall totals stretched from Lexington to Forest Acres on the east side of Columbia. Reports of 4.89 inches came in from west of Lexington, 4.56 inches from West Columbia, and 3.48 inches from Forest Acres.
As one can imagine with all of the rain this summer the heavy rains led to flooding. All of the usual spots flooded, but there were areas not prone to seeing so much water. Flooding was reported in parts of Forest Acres. Rain was so heavy in West Columbia that motorists on I-26 had to slow down and pull over in some cases.
|A graph of the water levels for Rocky Branch Creek for July 17-24, 2013. Note that a previous flood occurred on the 17th with bigger flood on the 24th. Click on the image for a larger view. Image Credit: USGS.|
Water rushed into Rocky Branch Creek that flows through the Five Points Area. By the time it reached Whaley Street it was the third highest flood on record. The water level reached 11.46 feet, whereas flood stage is at 7.2 feet. Roads were closed and cars were flooded.