Floodwaters in CSRA sweep homes off foundations, close roads and trap residents

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Heavy rain on top of already-saturated ground trapped some residents of Edgefield County, S.C., and washed out roads Tuesday across Lincoln County, Ga.

Meanwhile, one person was killed in an Augusta vehicle crash as rain fell across the region.

Here’s a look at the situation:

Edgefield County

Edgefield County EMA reported that four houses on three roads had people trapped inside.

The Merriwether Fire Department was on site conducting evacuations around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Sweetwater Road was flooded Tuesday afternoon at Dry Branch Creek, which had topped its banks. The South Carolina Department of Transportation had employees on the scene blocking the road.

Two houses were knocked off of their foundations

Neighbors say they’d never seen anything like this.

“I have never seen it this high. We’ve been out here 21 years,” said Chris Franco, a resident who ended up soaked from head to toe.

“I got chest-deep before I said, that’s enough and turned around,” he said.

His two neighbors had to be rescued from their houses, which were taken off their foundations and moved by the floodwater.

“Miss Cathy’s mama, she’s 80 plus years old and, then this couple right here, they’re in their late 50′s,” Franco explained.

Originally, rescuers tried to use a jet ski to rescue one of the residents but the fast current flipped it right over. So officials drove boats right up to the front doors.

“We know of at least two other homes that were affected that Merriweather Fire Department had to evacuate the residents from,” said Suzy Spurgeon, director of Edgefield EMA.

And for Spurgeon, it’s safe to say crews had a busy day.

“We got a whole lot of rain in a very short period of time, that’s causing flooding, homes to be knocked off their foundation, drainage pipes to be torn out of the road,” Spurgeon said.

Mill Creek Drive couldn't be traversed on Wednesday after p[art of the road washed out.
Mill Creek Drive couldn't be traversed on Wednesday after p[art of the road washed out.(WRDW)

She says too much water dumped at one time, causing this major flooding. Now the damage is done, and the county says, residents are just trying to pick up the pieces.

“The game plan is — we have crews going out assessing the different roads that we know of,” Spurgeon said. “I’m going out working with the families, getting the help that they can until their insurance kicks in.”

Nobody so far in the community was hurt, and some homeowners told News 12 that they do have flood insurance.

The heavy rain has also caused Mill Creek Drive to completely erode. Road flooding was also reported on Woodward Lake Road at Waters Edge Road in Trenton.

There were also reports of a couple of trees down on power lines and blocking the road, but those had been cleared.

Lincoln County

One of the worst-hit roads was Augusta Highway/Highway 47 — which is what Washington Road turns into as it heads into Lincoln County from Columbia County. The road was closed to all traffic past Cliatt’s Crossing and Double Branches Road, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

But it didn’t flood just roads, it even flooded some yards of residents.

“Just totally flooded I mean it came down so fast,” Mary Thedford said.

Thedford walked outside her home Tuesday morning to do yard work and saw something she’d never seen before.

“I happen to see a man with an orange vest on, and I came up and looked and the bridge was not there, there was just water rushing across,” she said.

Thedford has lived off Highway 220 for nearly 10 years and she says she's never seen flooding like this.

“They couldn’t even drive a truck over it. It was so deep. And the water was rushing,” Thedford said.

That wasn't the only road water was rushing over this morning. Officials say almost a half a dozen roads across the county had to be closed because of flooding.

“Mother Nature is very, very mysterious.”

Thankfully, Thedford didn't have anything damaged to her yard, but her neighbor wasn't so lucky

“My neighbor, she’s lost her garden. She’s lost everything over there in her yard. It was about three feet from her husband’s black truck and they’re on a hill,” she said.

County workers were able to get to the roads quickly and close them down. Within an hour, most roads were clear.

Thedford is just thankful not too much damage was done.

“Its a beautiful day other than her losing her garden. At least I didn’t lose my driveway,” she said.

Richmond County

At least one person was killed in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning in south Augusta as rain fell across the CSRA.

The crash was reported at 7:49 a.m. at 4474 Mike Padgett Highway and confirmed as a fatality by Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen. Southbound Mike Padgett was closed at Brown Road for a time after the crash.

Some residents of Richmond County also reported yard flooding.

One resident reported sewage running on his property in the 2000 block of Virginia Avenue because of the flooding.

Flooding also was reported in the 2400 block of Baywood Drive.

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