Flooding from Tropical Depression Bonnie prompted several road closings Sunday in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, including a stretch of one of the East Coast’s busiest highways.
Still, for most of the state, it appeared the worst of the storm had passed by later in the day Sunday, even with more rain in the forecast.
The S.C. Highway Patrol closed southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Jasper County about 20 miles north of the Georgia state line Sunday morning, near the towns of Ridgeland and Yemassee. That stretch of highway remained closed late Sunday afternoon, though all lanes had reopened northbound, after the closure of one lane there earlier in the day.
Law enforcement officers and S.C. Department of Transportation crews were on site directing traffic in the area, and a detour had been put into place. Flooding also closed six other roads in Jasper County Sunday, according to DOT.
Troopers said late Sunday afternoon they were unsure when the southbound lanes at exit 22 would reopen.
“We are at the mercy of mother nature,” Lance Cpl. Matt Southern of the S.C. Highway Patrol said Sunday.
Bonnie, the second named storm of the year, made landfall just east of Charleston around 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Isle of Palms, according to the National Hurricane Center. Winds caused by the storm reached 40 mph Saturday night but had dropped below 35 mph by Sunday morning, according to U.S. Air Force data reported to the hurricane center.
Bonnie was expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches in parts of South Carolina and Georgia, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Columbia area residents did not see heavy rainfall from Bonnie Sunday, with just around a half an inch of rain in most areas by late afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The highest amount reported locally was almost an inch of rain in eastern Lexington County.
Meteorologist Chris Rohrbach said the biggest part of the storm for Midlands residents likely is over.
“If we were going to get large amounts of rainfall it would have been (Sunday),” Rohrbach said. “We will see some showers still around (Monday).”
More rain is expected Monday, but not much, according to the Weather Service. The chance of precipitation is 50 percent in the daytime and 30 percent at night – with less than a tenth of an inch expected, with the exception that thunderstorms might bring a bit more.
Though not a powerful storm system, Bonnie did interupt plans for Memorial Day vacationers along the coastal areas of the Carolinas. It was expected to dump more rain in mid-Atlantic states as its move up north Monday.
Beach-goers were warned of rough surf and dangerous rip currents as a result of Bonnie. In Carolina Beach south of Wilmington, North Carolina, rescuers were looking for a 21-year-old North Carolina man who disappeared in the waves around early Saturday evening while swimming with two friends who made it back to shore safely.
The official start of hurricane season is Wednesday.
Contributing: Staff writers Glen Luke Flanagan, Sarah Ellis and Rachael Myers Lowe; The Associated Press; The Island Packet