Photo above: The Brownstein family survived the storm in Mount Pleasant. Wolfe and Selah pose in front of their new house on Monday, Oct. 5.
By Pamela Brownstein
It was our first weekend in our new house in Mount Pleasant.
With boxes piled everywhere, my husband, Daniel, and I sat on our screened-in porch and enjoyed listening to the sound of the rain falling last Thursday night. But then it started really pouring, so we moved inside.
He mentioned that Charleston County schools were closed the next day, Friday, Oct. 2, and that he also had off of work because of all the rain predicted to fall. I was oblivious to the weather as my energy was focused on unpacking, taking care of two rambunctious toddlers, and figuring out how to get our cable and internet working after five days without service. We saw little rain Friday during the day; Daniel and I (as Northerners) even remarked how silly it was to have off from school because of some rain. But as evening neared, the skies opened up, and the rain came — hard and constant.
When we woke up Saturday morning, it was still raining, but our house and neighborhood appeared fine, so I thought it would be no big deal to take the kids to Toddler Time at SkyZone (an indoor trampoline place) at 9 a.m. They needed to get some energy out.
There are two ways to get there, which is basically across town, so I chose the closest route. I wasn’t even half a mile down Long Point Road — a frequently traveled and busy thoroughfare located off of Highway 17 — when I encountered a police car blocking the road and a giant sign “WATER ON ROAD.” I thought, ‘Hmm, that’s strange, but no biggie, I’ll just turn around and go the other way.’
It was coming down in buckets at this point, and when I turned down the road that leads to SkyZone — a two-lane, well-paved road with no traffic lights that leads to a significant amount of businesses and commerce parks — I witnessed the effects of the deluge. The road was flooded in intervals, so that once I drove through one flooded area, it looked like safe travel on the other side, until I came to the second patch of water, this one much larger than the first, and then I started getting nervous. There was a fire truck coming from the other direction and a car behind me, so I hesitated but kept going. Once I was in the middle of the water though, I thought for sure my Hyundai SUV wasn’t going to make it. A feeling of panic and terror swept through my body as I pictured stalling out in the middle of a flooded road with my kids in the back seat. But my car pulled through, even as the water splashing up on the sides almost reached our windows.
As harrowing as that experience was, I thought that that had to be the worst of it. I foolishly drove through one more flooded area and realized conditions weren’t getting better. The kids, who were also freaked out, fully agreed that we needed to go home. My heart pounded as I drove back through the giant flooded area, but it was the only way out, and I did my best to steer my family to safety.
Needless to say, I did not venture out in my car again for the next three days. I saw firsthand some dangerous flooding, and I can’t even imagine what it was like for mothers across South Carolina with young children watching the water rise into their homes or making the decision to evacuate with their families and leaving all their belongings and safety of home behind in order to survive.
The Town of Mount Pleasant received more than 26 inches of rain in a four-day period, breaking all sorts of rainfall records. I felt lucky and elated to be safe inside the comfort of our new house after that scary ride — even as I faced a messy maze of stacked boxes and toys strewn all over the floor. I figure if our house and yard could weather a storm that comes around once every 1,000 years, it should be able to hold up the weight of our family for however long we are blessed to call it home.