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McClellanville dealing with flooding, landowner says worse than October floods

(Source: WCSC) McClellanville Flooding off Rutledge Road. (Source: WCSC) McClellanville Flooding off Rutledge Road.
MCCLELLANVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

People in McClellanville are dealing with some major flooding. 

One business owner says it's higher than the October floods when the Lowcountry had record breaking rainfall. The area is about a mile away from Hampton Plantation State Park on Rutledge Road. 

Community members believe the Santee Cooper Dam water spill is causing the water to rise. Santee Cooper's spilling of the dams is a normal part of their operations to cope with high rainfall. 

Cumpase and Shirley Lawrence say they left their vacation early when he got the call about the recent flooding.

"I got the notice that the water was getting excessively high again, I was concerned so I had to try to get back here and assess the situation," says Lawrence.

He and his wife Shirley own PJ's Mini-Mart and BJ's Sport's Bar off Rutledge Road in McClellanville.

"It's never been like this in the 19 years that we've been here," they say.

The Lawrences believe when Santee Cooper increased the spill rate of the Santee Dam on Lake Marion, it caused this flooding. 

When reached out to Santee Cooper it was the first time it heard about these conditions. Officials say it takes a while for the water to flow downstream and it's unusual for this to impact McClellanville in this way. Officials also say it could be a combination of tidal waves and heavy rainfall over a long period of time.

"I can understand that situation that they're trying to not cause a dam break, that's understandable," says Cumpase. "Then again if someone is out here to be able to access this situation to help us better understand why it's happening."

The area in front of their business looks like a lake, but under normal conditions it's dry land. There was a road that went across the front of their property, but that is not completely submerged with water nearly four feet high.

Shirley says the postal worker had to back up in the water earlier in the week in order to get to the mailbox. There's also a mobile home on their property that the couple is renting out to some friends. The home sits on a hill.

"That water was actually seven feet deep in the front of the house," says Cumpase.

He says earlier this week the people who live in this mobile home had to walk on a stack of bricks as a bridge from the water.

"It's not only damage to the property because it's going to be soggy and messy and everything, but then again the wildlife and everything that's inside this piece of property right here is going to be affected as well," says Cumpase.

The water has receded a few feet since Saturday, but the people living and working in this area say they don't know when it might rise again. 

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