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Heavy rains flood parts of Columbia

Aug 19, 2010 6:38:00 AM - thestate.com
Heavy rains soaked Columbia Wednesday evening, causing flash flooding in the Vista and in Five Points.

More than four feet of water rose along Blossom Street in Five Points between Saluda and Santee avenues, alongside the new Walgreens drug store. Rising waters trapped a car, but police said the lone motorist inside managed to escape. At one point, water was up to the bottom of its windows.

Two police cars, blue lights flashing, blocked traffic from entering that block of Blossom Street for more than half an hour. Five Points, a popular business district of shops, bars and eateries, is built on a low-lying stream basin almost entirely surrounded by high ground. As such, it is prone to severe flooding, despite the city’s spending millions of dollars on drains to try to thwart nature.

Although employees at the new Walgreens piled sandbags in front of the store front door, one employee shouted to a passerby across flooded Blossom Street that rain waters had entered the store.

In the Vista, a surge of water rushed down Lincoln Street — in front of the Blue Marlin restaurant towards Starbucks on Gervais Street — so fast that shopowner Clark Ellefson said it was strong enough to sweep pets and humans away.