Beaufort News

River swells as rain falls: Northern parts of Beaufort County, especially, drenched by storm

Video: Beaufort River edges over seawall at Henry C. Chamber Waterfront Park

Adelaide Henderson, a former bridge operator in Beaufort who now lives in Raleigh, N.C., said she had never seen the water get this high. She and son, Dallas, and husband, Ernest, were in town for the shrimp festival which was cancelled Saturday m
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Adelaide Henderson, a former bridge operator in Beaufort who now lives in Raleigh, N.C., said she had never seen the water get this high. She and son, Dallas, and husband, Ernest, were in town for the shrimp festival which was cancelled Saturday m
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Depending on where you live, Beaufort County residents woke to very different conditions Saturday morning.

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Those in Beaufort, Lady's Island and northern portions of the county experienced steady rainfall, torrential downpours at times, and even some amazing sights -- such as a swollen Beaufort River splashing over the wall at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort.

Those in Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and areas closer to Savannah received less rain, as the storm -- called "life-threatening" and "potentially unprecedented" by meteorologists -- moved inland across the Carolinas.

"This is crazy," said Adelaide Henderson, who, along with her husband, Ernest Henderson, and their young son, Dallas, were looking out at the Beaufort River on Saturday amazed by how high it was.

The three had driven some 300 miles from Raleigh, N.C., to attend the shrimp festival, one of Beaufort's signature events, and were a little disappointed to find the festival had been canceled.

"I've never seen it get this high," said Adelaide Henderson about the river level. Before moving to North Carolina, she had lived and worked in Beaufort as a bridge tender on the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge.

"But it's also kind of exciting," she said.

Katie Polgar, Anna Kirkland and Donna Kirkland were also among the disappointed strolling along the riverfront on Saturday.

The three women, from Cumming, Ga., had also driven to Beaufort to attend the shrimp festival and were taking photos of the rising water.

"It's like an infinity pool," said Donna Kirkland as the river rose to almost even with the sidewalk's edge by mid-day.

The three said that, with the festival canceled, they were going to go shopping instead.

"We're trying to make the most of it," Donna Kirkland said.

By 2:30 p.m., the water had topped the wall and was flowing across the park's wide walkway.

Down at the park's east-end, across from the bridge, white-crested waves churned and sloshed over the sidewalk, thrilling a handful of spectators left in the park.

Nearby, officers with the Beaufort Police Department stood on a knoll watching the river rise.

"This is high ground," one of them said.

Minutes later, the officers closed a flooded Scott Street between Saltus Grill and YoYo's Frozen Yogurt Shop to traffic.

By Saturday afternoon, forecasters with the National Weather Service Charleston said rain totals for the area were significant but not as great for Beaufort and Jasper counties as other parts of South Carolina's coast.

The majority of the rain has fallen in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester (counties)," meteorologist Emily Timte said. "It's been more north of Beaufort."

By 7 a.m. Saturday, Hilton Head Island had received 5.31 inches, Beaufort and northern Beaufort county had received about 3 inches, and Jasper and Hampton County had received a little over an inch during the previous 48 hours, she said.

By comparison, Charleston had received between 9 and 10 inches in the same period.

What's more, northern portions of Beaufort County could see an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain as the front continues through Monday, while southern portions of the county could get an inch to an inch and a half.

By Monday, though, residents can expect the rains to begin moving out, she said.

"We have a dry forecast for Tuesday," she said.

Follow reporter Mindy Lucas at twitter.com/MindyatIPBG.

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