Figurine map of Charleston, SC

Here in Charleston flooded streets are just a way of life for the locals that live downtown.  All it takes is just the right combination of tide paired with a downpour, or even a singular “super high tide ” and Charleston’s streets become small creeks. But not for long, as the water subsides and life goes on.  But why does this happen?

As far back as the 18th century, Charlestonians have made a practice of expanding the city by infilling creeks and marshes. Water Street in the South of Broad neighborhood was originally Vanderhorst Creek, until it was filled-in in 1792. Many have seen photos of kayakers going through the Market area on Market Street. What was once Governor’s Creek was filled-in to create Market Street in the first decade of the 19th century. Both the Harleston Village and Cannonborough neighborhoods were formed by infill during the mid 1800s.  The city has continued to alter the coastline as recently as the 1960s. At that time Lockwood Boulevard was constructed as a result of cutting off the Charleston Municipal Yacht Basin from the Ashley River and converted it into a pond.

These recent days of severe and prolonged flooding in Charleston, well, that is now being hailed as a “1000 year flood. ”  The perfect confluence of events … a “Rex Block ” weather system, coupled with unusually high tides from a rare Super Moon, and Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin churning up the ocean hundreds of miles off shore. With nearly 20 ” of rain in a 3-day span and Charleston and the surrounding lowcountry located at sea level, the extensive and catastrophic flooding were unavoidable.

Sure, some areas of Charleston do flood with rain and the right tides.  Understanding what parts of the peninsula are going to experience flooding from time to time, the varying elevations, the ins & outs of flood insurance and why obtaining an elevation certificate is important, are a must when purchasing a home in downtown Charleston. And that is why when searching for a home in Charleston and the surrounding area, it’s important to have an experienced Realtor that knows the area well.

Note:  Living downtown in the heart of the historic district I was able to walk the streets these last few days and get a first-hand look at the downtown streets that suffered from the most severe flooding.  Even I discovered areas of flooding that I was previously unaware of.  Check out this previous blog written by Chris Leigh-Jones about a similar experience that he had.

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