Community swallowed by water as Edisto River hits 14 feet

Community swallowed by water as Edisto River hits 14 feet

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Huckleberry Hill Lane, off of Highway 61 in Colleton County, is no longer a road. Two and a half weeks ago a car could drive 20 miles an hour up and down the street, but now Huckleberry Hill is the newest finger of the Edisto River.

"Everybody's shocked," said Laine Williams, who is navigating through his neighborhood by boat like it was channel. "They didn't think it could do it. I thought it was over with but then we got this rain started again and that's where it's at."

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the river gauge read 14.09 feet – the highest since 2003.

The water in most low lying areas is four feet above the asphalt. Huckleberry Hill and it's handful of homes and residents are no exception.

"I ask them if they have any ocean front property for sale," said Williams about his neighbors, who he passes by boat. "They say we have plenty of it."

The Edisto River broke it's flood stage on the Fourth of July and, save three days, it hasn't stopped rising.

"Basically it's just water flowing everywhere - that's about all you can say," said Tommy Wright. "You get caught up in these currents and rolled into them woods, you in trouble."

Wright and his son-in-law say the flooding is just part of living on the water but this is the highest they've seen the water in the summer since 1992.

"It's just life," said Wright. "If you've got a place on the river or anywhere like this you might as well be waiting for it. Some people come here and buy places and they don't expect this and then all the sudden they're underwater."

The entire Huckleberry Hill community is underwater. Williams says his daughter wades through the water to get out to Highway 61 for work every morning. The trip takes her 25 minutes.

At 14 feet, officials with the USGS say the Edisto should crest Wednesday morning.

"Just hopefully one day it will get down," said Wright. "Mother nature is the boss."

Speaking from experience, Wright says once the river crests it should take about two and a half weeks to recede but that's only if the rain cooperates.

The Edisto River is fed from water sheds in Aiken, Orangeburg and Bamberg. Residents who live on the water can expect it to continue to rise if the Upstate gets rain.

Dorchester County officials are urging people avoid the Edisto River until conditions move back to below flood stage as a precaution to swimmers and boaters.

Over the last two weeks numerous water rescues have been performed by public safety teams in Dorchester, Colleton, and Charleston counties. Navigating the river is deceiving; currents and undertows make activities extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.

The young, impaired, and those who are weak swimmers, are especially at risk and, subjecting someone to a known hazard may result in criminal charges should an injury or deaths occur.

Should someone become stranded or need a rescue, water levels may make this a difficult or an impossible task so, the recommended course of action is to wait until the water recedes and conditions become more favorable to enjoy recreational activities on the river.

Effective immediately, Boat Landing Road will be closed beyond the last home at 160 Boat Landing Road until conditions improve.

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