Historic Flooding in South Carolina Expected

October 3rd, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

UPDATE: (8:50 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 4). As predicted, heavy rain has spread over much of SC during the night, and there are widespread reports of over 10 inches of total storm rainfall, with one of 24 inches (Mt. Pleasant, near Charleston). Columbia has received 8-10 inches, and heavy rain continues there. Unbelievably, the midnight GFS model run predicts an additional 12 inches of rain over much of central and southeast SC by mid-day Monday. I suspect we are looking at a catastrophic flooding situation in some areas.

The Pacolet River, South Carolina, flood of 1903.

The Pacolet River, South Carolina, flood of 1903.

As much as two feet of rain is expected in South Carolina this weekend, which could produce the worst flooding in the state since records began. Governor Nikki Haley has already declared a state of emergency for the state. For comparison, the worst SC floods on record occurred in 1903, 1908, 1940, 1945, and 1990.

Flooding has already begun in Charleston, where 5-7 inches of rain has accumulated as of this morning and some water rescues are being made. North Myrtle Beach has received 9.30 inches so far.

Here is the latest GFS model predicted rain totals by Monday morning (graphic courtesy of Weatherbell.com):

Total predicted rainfall by Monday morning, Oct. 5, from the GFS model.

Total predicted rainfall by Monday morning, Oct. 5, from the GFS model.

Purple areas in the above image indicate over 12 inches of predicted rainfall.

So far, most of the rain has been restricted to the eastern half of the state where several inches have fallen, but the heavy rain will spread over the rest of the state today.

Local flood information for the Midlands of South Carolina from WLTX can be found here.

Current South Carolina radar


42 Responses to “Historic Flooding in South Carolina Expected”

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  1. JJ says:

    Perhaps the governor and state congress should ban rain from landing on or near the capital building. This should effectively prevent flooding.

  2. MS says:

    If only we had strickter gun control laws, the rain would surely listen to us then. This is a choice people!

  3. mpainter says:

    Here is the NWS bulletin on it

    THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF A WIDESPREAD EXCESSIVE RAINFALL EVENT OVER
    LARGE PORTIONS OF SOUTH CAROLINA—FAR NORTHEASTERN GEORGIA INTO
    SOUTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA AND FAR EASTERN TENNESSEE. THE FAIRLY
    LARGE EXCESSIVE THREAT OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS THAT HAS SPREAD INTO
    THE MID ATLANTIC IS BECOMING MORE FOCUSED FARTHER TO THE SOUTH
    WHERE ANOMALOUS MOISTURE FLUX WILL BECOME FOCUSED INTO PORTIONS OF
    THE SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS. BLENDED TPW LOOPS
    CONTINUE TO SHOW A TAP OF TROPICAL MOISTURE FROM IN THE VICINITY
    OF JOAQUIN BEING TRANSPORTED NORTHWESTWARD ON THE EASTERN AND
    NORTHEASTERN SIDE OF THE CLOSED LOW MOVING SLOWLY EASTWARD OVER
    THE SOUTHEAST THIS PERIOD. THIS WILL RESULT IN PW ANOMALIES OF 2+
    STANDARD DEVIATIONS ABOVE THE MEAN PERSISTING IN THE AXIS OF
    STRONG EAST SOUTHEASTERLY LOW LEVEL FLOW. ASIDE FROM SOME
    RELATIVELY MINOR DIFFERNECES IN THE QPF AXES AMONG THE LATEST
    GUIDANCE—THERE IS A STRONG MODEL SIGNAL FOR WIDESPREAD 5-10″
    AMOUNTS ACROSS THESE AREAS—WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM OF 15″+
    POSSIBLE WHERE THE MOST PERSISTENT TRAINING RAINS OCCUR.
    SIGNIFICANT FLOODING THREAT THIS PERIOD ACROSS THESE AREAS—WITH
    THIS THREAT CONTINUING FOR PORTIONS OF SC AND SOUTHEAST NC FOR THE
    DAY 2 AND 3 TIME PERIOD.

    I consider this bulletin a good example of the borderline literacy so often exhibited by the NWS. Note the clumsy syntax, and tautology, execrable lack of vocabulary, and arcane expressions that render the bulletin opaque for all who are not meteorologists.

  4. libsmasher says:

    I thought that Obama had decreed that the ” tides shall lower” .
    How dare these rains exist!! You will report for reeducation…

    BTW, AGW is total nonsense. A warming globe is a constant since the end of the last ice age. Hence, we are in an interglacial period. That has been understood for hundreds of years.

    • David says:

      More like, Obama decreed that Charleston shall be wiped off the map because of Dylann Roof.

      Numerous incidents of apparent weather warfare on his watch.

  5. mpainter says:

    This amount of rain will turn the coastal plain of South Carolina into an flowing lake. It will be miserable for the poor unfortunates who CA not find refuge.

  6. Big Bear says:

    I’m hoping it’s not as dire as predicted. Too often in today’s age of hysteria, things are blown out of proportion. Here’s to this media hype ending with a few puddles.

    • This heavy rain event has been consistently forecast by the models for several days now. I’m afraid it’s a pretty real threat.

      • Erik Magnuson says:

        The forecasts for this storm seemed to be much more accurate than the forecasts for the path of Joaquin. Would this be because of better data over land (and highly populated land) than over the oceans?

        Glad to see Joaquin heading well away from the east coast, Joaquin hitting the Carolinas at about the same time this storm hit would have been even more of a disaster.

  7. depressionbaby says:

    “Dr. Spencers research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE. He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil”

    So now we know how he makes all of his money; The Federal Government which is actually you and me, or at least me.

    • jimc says:

      Thanks, its a good cause. Now if you would just shut off the IPCC, EPA, environmental wacko, etc. funding, I would appreciate it.

  8. Kevin Day says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    What are your thoughts on this new research on abiotic isoprenes?

    MASSIVE GLOBAL COOLING process discovered as Paris climate deal looms

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/30/massive_global_cooling_factor_discovered_ahead_of_paris_climate_talks/

    • dave says:

      “MASSIVE GLOBAL COOLING”…

      I remember when President Reagan was slated because he said that the haze hanging over the Great Smoky Mountains was natural pollution. But he was factually correct, as VOCs from the forests cause much of this fog. However, as VOCs form less than 1% of aerosols globally, I do not think that a study finding an extra source of one of them justifies the headline.

      • David says:

        It shows that the model is not complete and lacks all the earth climate’s feedback and control mechanisms. Leaving out one source like this can indeed cause the model to predict a long term gradual trend that is not correct.

        Using an incomplete model like this (who knows what else we’ve still left out?) to make hard big-government decisions (we must all suffer rather than emit CO2) is stupid and corrupt.

        Remember 10 or 20 years ago when some stupid geneticists were proclaiming most of the human DNA to be “garbage DNA” just because they didn’t understand it? Now we are starting to understand it and know it does something. The current climate hysteria (leading to Paris later this year of course) is just as obviously inappropriate.

    • 2 issues come to mind:
      1) there are so many cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the atmosphere, I doubt that just because we found where some of them come from that it means much regarding natural cooling mechanism
      2) Even if more aerosols lead to more cloudiness (which I doubt, since there are plenty of CCN available all the time) did the research say how the process might change with warming? That’s the question.

      • Kevin Day says:

        Dr. Spencer,

        Thank you for your thoughts (Dave too). I must admit I couldn’t access the research paper without paying for it. I was hoping you had access to it however. I know that AGW models are not complete, the atmospheric mechanisms are extremely complex as you know, and why we use the term ‘models’. I guess I was wondering if this new research might improve upon the existing models or if this research is flawed, insignificant, or even propaganda. Dave, the 1% VOC figure you site is thought to be from biotic origins, as I understand it. Is it even possible that this new ‘research’ may have uncovered a new source originating, abiotically, from the oceans surface? And VOC’s play a much larger role than previously thought? If true, it might improve upon the existing AGW models. And in that case, neither camp, all of us pro’s and anti’s might be both wrong and right! And the actual truth lies somewhere in between?

      • Kevin Day says:

        DR. Spencer,

        Yes. After reading the paper, it appears that seasonal fluctuations in ocean surface temperatures were taken into account. Is this what you meant by your question of ‘warming”? The study seems to indicate that photosynthesized chemistry, from organic films (fatty acids primarily) in the SML (absent biologic sources in the marine boundary layer), may represent a significant source of isoprenes, previously unknown to exist.

        The question then becomes, how does a tripling of VOCs, from what was previously known to exist from chlorophilic sources, affect the earth’s atmosphere? And, how might this new research improve upon our AGW models, if at all?

        Kevin Day, M.Ed.

        • It doesn’t sound like it would have much impact, but then I’m skeptical of everything. 😉

          • Kevin Day says:

            Skeptical? Hah! Me too … I believe this research is legit, I just don’t have the background and education to understand the impact it has on what we currently understand. It just continues to really bug me that everyone is at each others throats over an issue that still has so many unknowns. I hope someday that folks like yourself are able to final resolve these questions on climate – we all have a stake in this! On the other hand, the ‘solutions’ being proposed by the U.N. and others seem so radical when I don’t believe we have a firm enough grasp on what is really happening. What, if by our ‘solutions’, we actually make the quality of life here, worse than it is? Money and political power seem to be at issue, when science should be instead. Again, thank you for your thoughts.

            Kevin

  9. Stan Olson says:

    Another year without a “hurricane” making landfall in the U.S.

  10. Obama's Fault says:

    To paraphrase one Kanye West: “B. Hussein Obama doesn’t care about white people.”

    • David says:

      Usually Obama’s weather warfare is very selective in hitting middle class white areas while avoiding black areas. For example that weird hurricane that went up the Hudson Valley, and Sandy.

      Is this storm similarly targeted at middle class white areas, or are predominantly black areas included as well? Is Columbia SC being hit?

    • lewis says:

      Obama doesn’t care about …people.

      He cares about himself – most narcissistic he is.

      Also, note how well he treats our enemies elsewhere – so different than he treats his domestic enemies.

      Makes one wonder of his basic beliefs – or – in my case, reinforces what I believed during his first presidential campaign.

  11. Amaya says:

    So with all of this destruction how long before we are allowed to start blaming obama. I mean the libs were blamming bush before the final drops of rain hit the ground.

    • Lewis says:

      Amaya,

      There is a slight difference between Bush and Obama. Bush, a Republican, is obviously capable of controlling hurricanes and rainfall, and so, should be held responsible. Obama, on the other hand, a Democrat, is not even capable of controlling his mouth, which, you will have noticed, lies copiously. So it would be a wrong to blame him for anything.

  12. D says:

    You are a fucking asshole

  13. E says:

    It’s what God wants.

  14. ren says:

    The jet stream is highly visible in the animation of water vapor.
    http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/national/satellite-wv?play=1

  15. John F. Hultquist says:

    Friends sent a photo of the kids in a kayak in their backyard. Likely will be lots of images over the next few days.

    ~~~~~
    The NWS always shows a link to a “Forecast Discussion” click and the text is of the teletype style that Roy mentions at 8:56 AM.
    Our current one uses the terms RIDGE and FRONT and other terms as links to the glossary. Each time the word appears it gets treated in this manner. If it is used 15 times it is still shown as a link. This disrupts the readability of the message. It is common practice to use a term and, if need be, define it or, say provide an acronym. For example, the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) UAH then works for multiple uses of the place in a text. There is no need to do the whole bit every time.
    About once a year I write to the local office to see if someone in authority might agree with me and try to change the practice of repetition. Seems no one cares but me.

  16. Jay says:

    Who is responsible for damages down stream? We all new a lot of rain was coming days in advanced. The lake could have been brought down sooner. As I see it SCE&G failed to protect Cayce and West Columbia.

      • Lewis says:

        Some people don’t know how dams, rivers and rainfall work together to cause flooding. Jay – Drawing down the lake levels would not have prevented the flooding. Unless perhaps the lakes were drawn completely down. But, in order to do that, water would have to have been dumped faster than, I suspect, possible. That, in itself, would have caused flooding. But, as I said, the lakes can only be drawn down at a certain rate.

        The problem with Jay and people who think like that is they want to blame someone for everything if it is not to their liking.

        MORE IMPORTANTLY

        Without knowing the particular players, I feel confident in assuring you that whoever controlled the lake levels did everything they could to avert flooding. Do not think otherwise. They too are members of the community, having friends, loved ones etc downstream.

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