There were several inches of rainwater dumped onto Jasper County roads on Monday, as Tropical Storm Colin approached. Emergency crews and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are still assessing the damage to roads, as some roads remain closed.
Within just two weeks, two storms have caused roads to flood in low-lying areas of Jasper County and the Town of Ridgeland. As of Tuesday evening, Calf Pen Bay Road, or Highway 652, Highway 462, and Log Hall Road were closed to all but local traffic. There were several inches of standing water.
Crews were out in shifts all day to monitor those troubled spots.
“Hydroplaning was a major concern,” Jasper County Fire-Rescue firefighter and paramedic Phillip Krause said.
Krause said he grew more concerned as the rain came down steadily on Monday, especially after the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie overwhelmed the same area just the week before.
“Knowing how saturated the soils were, I was expecting and preparing for the worst,” Krause said.
He said his area is fortunate that the rain slacked during high tide hours early Tuesday morning. Otherwise, Krause feels much more would be under water.
“The dynamic force of water…it’s really hard to estimate exactly what it would have looked like, but any time you have a heavy rainfall associated with a high tide, it adds complications to our response and it increases the areas that do get flooded,” he said.
Now, there’s a bit of a mess to clean. Several road closures remained as Krause drove around the area to monitor things.
“You know, we don’t close a road for no apparent reason. If we are closing the road, it is because there’s a significant impact to that road that unsafe for travel,” he said.
His task is to assist DOT in preparing an estimate on when to reopen the roads, guessing when conditions will be back to normal.
“We’re looking at the sides of the banks to see if the water is actually pushing through underneath the road,” he added.
He still cautions drivers not to underestimate the roads that seem safe.
“This water looked completely still from a distance, but you can actually see the surface here, the water is actually flowing,” he pointed out on Calf Pen Bay Road.
Krause was unsure on when the roads could reopen, on Tuesday. He says it could be a day or two for those closed highways and maybe longer for Log Haul Road which needs repairs.