St. Andrews, SC (Paul Kirby) – A passing storm dumped heavy rain on a portion of Lexington and much of the St. Andrews area of Lexington County causing flash flooding that closed I-26 west and submerged cars and damaged other property before the waters subsided. The storm, which struck before 7:00 p.m. Thursday evening, quickly inundated those areas’ storm water systems and the flood waters pooled in any of the low spots and began to rise.
As the storm passed Lexington, water quickly collected and then covered Corley Mill Road near the entrance to River Bluff High School. Lexington police officers had to simply wait for the storm to pass and the water to recede as they closed the road and turned around motorists before they could get themselves in trouble.
When the storm hit the St. Andrews area a short while later, the gates really opened, and a tremendous amount of water fell in a very short time. The Irmo Fire District got their first call for help from Tara Trail in the Woodland Hills area. A caller said they could see homes flooding and didn’t know if anyone was trapped by the rising water. Firefighters cleared all the homes and it appeared as if people’s property was the only thing that really was destroyed.
Before they could even get rescuers on that scene, the calls for help started coming in fast and furiously. The area around the Red Roof Inn at St. Andrews Road and I-26 was flooded and some vehicles were reported submerged while water was entering ground floor rooms. Just across St. Andrews off Fernandina Road, the water was rising and swamping cars and some units at the Churchill Apartment complex. Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies checked and found damaged personal property and buildings, but no one in any real danger.
Across the interstate on Jamil Road, several cars were trapped by the water and the Lexington County Fire Service responded to assist as the Irmo Fire District’s resources were stretched thin. The most serious hazard in that area was water that was completely across the west bound lanes of I-26 causing law enforcement officers to close those lanes completely down.
More flood waters took other motorists by surprise on Bush River Road as additional attention was needed to deal with people whose cars simply didn’t float and quickly flooded out causing a few minor rescue situations. All across the area, any place that could catch water did and first responders dashed from call to call making sure that no one’s life was in danger.
It took the storm moving on and several hours for the waters to subside. During that time, roads were closed, a tree that had fallen off Ashland Road was cleared away, and many vehicles were towed after the water finally drained from in and around them. Estimated property damage figures have not been released and it may take some time to compile those as property owners, insurance adjusters, and government officials are still accessing what was damaged or destroyed by the waters.