Officials: Washington waters rose to highest level since Hurricane Irene

Officials: Washington waters rose to highest level since Hurricane Irene

WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY - Beaufort County saw more than 6 inches of rain Friday night. Records show the average rainfall amount for June is just over four inches.

Public Works Director Allen Lewis said it wasn't mechanical issues or power outages that made Jack's Creek overflow but heavy rain.    

Lewis said Friday afternoon the water levels at the creek were about a foot below main sea level, but as the rain started pouring the water levels started rising.  At about 9 p.m. the creek reached just below three feet above main sea level.

"When that happens obviously water backs up in the streets," Lewis said.

Lewis said with about 6 inches of rain in just four hours the pumps couldn't keep up.

"Our drainage system cannot handle that much rain in that short period of time," Lewis said.

The four pumps at Jack's Creek aren't a joke either. Each one pumps 25, 000 gallons of water a minute. When all four are running they can push out about 100,000 gallons into the river.

"We've had some events between Irene and Friday night, but nothing quite this bad," Allen said.

Jason Kitchen has lived in his home overlooking Jack's Creek for over two years.

"During Hurricane Sandy the water rose quite a bit, but nowhere near where it got Friday night," Kitchen said.

He said the water kept inching closer to his home. With a new born son, Kitchen said he's glad the water levels lowered by Saturday morning.

According to officials, during severe rain storms a lot of trash and debris gets caught in the screens that protect the pumps. Allen said workers had to go out Friday night to rake out piles of trash from the creek in order to keep the pumps from clogging up.

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