By Charles Warner
UNION COUNTY — Even though as much as eight inches of rain fell on parts of Union County as of Monday morning the county nevertheless “dodged a bullet” compared to other parts of the Upstate and the rest of South Carolina.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Joshua Palmer said Monday that during a five-day period that began at 7 a.m. Oct. 1 and ended at 7 a.m. that morning, Union County received between 3 inches and 8 inches of rain. Palmer said that the amount of rain that fell depended on the area of the county with the amounts decreasing from south to north. He said the northern area of the county received 3-3 1/2 inches of rain while the southernmost end of the county received 8 inches.
On Friday, the National Weather Service in Greer was projecting the area to receive anywhere from 5 inches to 10 inches of rain. Palmer said that the reason why the rainfall the county received was slightly lower than expected was because the worst of the rainfall — and the problems associated with it — was to the south and east of the Upstate. He said that while the area did receive heavy rainfall and some areas like Chester County experience significant problems with fallen trees and Laurens County significant problems with fallen trees and flooding, much of the Upstate including Union County “dodged a bullet” by being on the “northernmost extent” of the storm system.
The heavy rains and winds were caused by the convergence of a large continental low over the eastern US and Hurricane Joaquin over the Atlantic Ocean. Under normal circumstances the large continental low would have produced heavy rainfall on its own, but while Joaquin remained out over the ocean it nevertheless fed warm moist area into the low, increasing and intensifying the amount of precipitation generated.
The combination of the two systems caused extensive flooding throughout South Carolina, especially in the Coastal and Midlands areas of the state including Charleston and Columbia. In addition to the flooding, the heavy rainfall and winds toppled trees and caused power outages.
A big factor contributing to the flooding, the fallen trees, and the blocked roads was the fact that the rain produced by the storm system fell on ground already saturated by rains earlier in the week. This caused runoff into streams, creeks and rivers which rose and flooded. The large amounts of water also overtaxed and/or caused blockages of storm drains and drainage ditches along roads causing the water to back up and make roadways impassable. The rain and wind also combined to topple trees onto roads, blocking traffic and/or fall on power lines causing outages
City Of Union
The City of Union was one of those areas that dodged the bullet, with officials reporting few instances of power
outages, fallen trees blocking roads, and flooding.
City of Union Utility Director Joe Nichols said that the city had only a few power outage affecting less than 50 people over the weekend.
“We had calls out on Pearch Orchard Road and Beechtree Road and we also had a few calls on Woodlawn Avenue,” Nichols said. “They were very sporadic and it was just limbs down on lines and/or service lines to houses. That’s about it, in this area it was pretty light.”
City of Union Public Services Director Perry Harmon said that public service personnel were called out only one time over the weekend to clear away a fallen tree blocking a road.
Harmon said Monday that a tree fell across a car on Gault Avenue around 7 a.m. Sunday. He said public service personnel responded, spending about two hours clearing away the tree so the street could be reopened to traffic.
City of Union Public Safety Director Sam White said that his department received only a few reports of flooding over the weekend.
“There was a little water on the road on General Lee Lane where it overflowed,” White said Monday. “There was also a call on Brookside Drive where two creeks run together and the water wasn’t draining enough and came up on the road but didn’t wash anything away. There was also a drain that got clogged up on Lakeside Drive and made the water flow on to the road, but the DOT (Department of Transportation) came out and unclogged it.”
White said that, unlike other parts of the state, the city “didn’t have anything really bad.”
Foster Park Lake was recently partially drained so a spillway could be repaired but the water level of the lake was back up and then some thanks to the rainfall over the past several days. Harmon said that while the lake did not flood, it was water level rose approximately two feet due to the rain.
There’s an old children’s song about wishing for rain to go away and come again another day and that wish will be granted over the next several days.
Palmer said that the National Weather Service is “expecting things to be nice and calm” for the next several days with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. He said the highs will be in the upper 70s and the lows in the upper 50s with winds light to calm.
“It’s a well-deserved break for the Upstate,” Palmer said.
Even though it didn’t flood, Foster Park Lake nevertheless rose two feet because of rain that fell on Union County beginning Oct. 1 and continuing through the next five days. Union County received from 3-3 1/2 inches of rain in the northern end of the county and 8 inches in the southernmost part of the county.
The ground was already saturated from rains earlier in the week before the storm system that brought as much as 8 inches of rain to Union County moved in this weekend. The additional rainfall left ground muddy with standing pools of water in some locations such as this end of Foster Park.
The water level in the creek that feeds Foster Park Lake was higher than normal Monday morning after a storm produced heavy rains that fell much of this past weekend. The rain was in addition to rains that fell on the county earlier last week.