SCEMD reports 9 dams breached from 1,000-year rain event in South Carolina

After the highest rainfall levels ever recorded, from weather affected by Hurricane Joaquin, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is monitoring 18 dams and reporting that nine dams have breached.

On Oct. 5 at 3 a.m., SCEMD said, “Of the 18 dams officials are closely monitoring, nine have breached or failed completely and one was intentionally breached to relieve pressure on it. The breached, and or failed dams are:

— Aiken County: Corbett Lake;
— Fort Jackson: Semmes Lake Dam;
— Lee County: Clyburn Dam;
— Lexington County: Old Mill Pond, Gibson Pond Dam and Barr Lake Dam;
— Richland County: Upper Rocky Creek/North Lake Dam and Cary’s Lake Dam (Arcadia Lake  Dam); and
— Richland County: Beaver Dam/Boyd’s Pond No. 2/Wildwood Pond No. 2 was intentionally breached for a controlled release.”

In addition to the breached dams SCEMD listed, local news outlets and Facebook posts, and nationally published reports indicate additional dams have breached:

  • Ashwood Lake Dam;
  • Beaver Creek Dam;
  • Folsom Pond Dam;
  • Forest Lake Dam;
  • Lake Dogwood Dam;
  • Lake Katharine Dam;
  • Oakdale Lake Dam on the West Side of the City of Florence;
  • Overcreek Bridge Dam;;
  • Rockbridge Road Dam;
  • Lower Rockyford Lake Dam; and
  • Upper Rockyford Lake Dam.

There are 2,439 dams in South Carolina according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. South Carolina enumerates the Dam Hazard Potential for its facility classification at:

— High — 205;
— Significant — 466; and
— Low –1,768.

CNN reports the state experienced a “thousand-year rainfall,” meaning the amount of rainfall in South Carolina has a 1-in-1,000 chance of happening in any given year.

Rain totals in the state include 24 inches in Mount Pleasant, about 20 inches in the Charleston metropolitan area and more than 18 inches of rain will affect the Gills Creek watershed.

SCEMD said in a press release, “The S.C. Emergency Response Team continues to caution residents of potential dangers of rising waters, including those associated with neighborhood dams and flooding. The Department of Health and Environmental Control has been contacted by dam operators and made aware of several dams across the state that have overtopped, and some that have failed.”

SCEMD also recommends vigilance around all dams, especially neighborhood dams.

“If you live below a small, neighborhood dam, please be vigilant of its status,” said DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs Elizabeth Dieck.

“We would strongly encourage you to pay attention to local news reports that can contain important information about the status of your dam. Be prepared to take appropriate actions you feel are necessary for your safety or as directed by your local emergency officials.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a flood warning until Oct. 7 in several continues for the following rivers in South Carolina:

  • Congaree River At Columbia affecting Lexington and Richland counties;
  • Congaree River At Carolina Eastman affecting Calhoun, Lexington and Richland counties;
  • Saluda River at Chappells affecting Greenwood, Newberry and Saluda counties;
  • Stevens Creek near Modoc affecting Edgefield and McCormick counties;
  • Enoree River at Whitmire affecting Newberry and Union counties; and
  • North Fork of Edisto River at Orangeburg affecting Orangeburg County.

On Oct. 4, President Obama signed a disaster declaration for federal aid to help with recovery efforts, and more than 1,300 National Guard members have been deployed in the state.

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Gregory B. Poindexter is an associate editor for . He also provides social media updates via's Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

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