MEAN HIGH WATER


Flooding & Sea Level Rise in the SC Lowcountry





ABOUT
Mean High Water (MHW) is a project documenting the impacts of sea level rise & flooding in and beyond the South Carolina Lowcountry. The title is in reference to the MHW tidal datum defined and maintained by the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Service.

The tides of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean are increasingly encroaching into the natural and built environment of Charleston and the Lowcountry. The rate of increase in the number of coastal flood events is alarming. Approximately 45% of all coastal floods observed in Charleston Harbor from 1953 through 2020 have occurred since 2010. An average of 18.8 coastal floods occurred per year in the 1990s. In the 2010s, the annual average was 42.4 coastal floods2, an increase of over 200%.

MHW was started in 2020 by photographer and engineer Jared Bramblett. It is intended to be an evolving and collaborative documentation of the impacts of flooding. If you are interested in participating and submitting to the project, please reach out. All content on this site is copyrighted. If you are interested in using any content, please submit a request.


CONTACT
Jared Bramblett
jaredbramblett@gmail.com

︎ ︎ ︎  
All thoughts and opinions presented on this site are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of any other organizations.


01    INDEX︎︎︎
02    CHARLESTON UNDER WATER ︎︎︎
03    LATEST ︎︎︎
04    NEWSLETTER ︎︎︎
05    RESOURCES︎︎︎





RECORDS & STATISTICS
Charleston Harbor, Cooper River Entrance1

Coastal Floods (>7-ft MLLW)2
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
89 (2019)
68 (2020)
58 (2015)
55 (2016)
46 (2017, 2021)

Major Coastal Floods (>8-ft MLLW)2
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
7 (2020)
6 (2015)
4 (2021)
4 (2019)
3 (2018)

Peak Tide Crests (MLLW)3
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
09/22/1989 - 12.52-ft (Hugo)
08/11/1940 - 10.23-ft (Unnamed)
09/11/2017 - 9.92-ft (Irma)
10/08/2016 - 9.29 (Matthew)
01/01/1987 - 8.81-ft 

26 of the 40 (65%) major flood tides on record have occurred since 2015.3

Statistics current as of 07/01/2022


REFERENCES

1Tidal Benchmark Station - Charleston, Cooper River Entrance, SC - Station ID: 8665530

2NWS Coastal Flood Event Database

3Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, Charleston, SC 

Charleston Under Water

Documenting flooding in and around Charleston (2015 - 2022) 
Updated July 2022

︎ The numbers after each photo description correspond to the numbered locations on the map at the bottom of the page.

︎︎︎
Vardell’s Creek reclaims itself during a winter rain on America Street, Eastside, January 2016 (O1)

︎︎︎
Charleston Low Battery overtops as the remants of Hurricane Michael pass Charleston, October 2018 (02)




︎︎︎
A resident wades in floodwaters from a summer storm on President Street at Line Street in the footprint of a former tidal marsh of Gadsden Creek, Westside, July 2022 (03)

︎︎︎
Stormwater flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa on Ashley Avenue, Westside, July 2021 (04) 


︎︎︎
Irma’s surge overtops the Charleston Low Battery Seawall, September 2017 (05)


︎︎︎
Flooding of (*)hell at the intersection of King and Huger Streets, North Central, September 2020 (06)

︎︎︎
(*)hell becomes Circle K, but the intersection of King and Huger Streets in the footprint of Newmarket Creek still floods, North Central, July 2022 (06)


︎︎︎
King tide flooding along Gadsden Street which used to be tidal marsh of the Ashley River, Harleston Village, November 2021 (07)




︎︎︎
The Ashley River overtakes Lockwood Drive during King Tide flooding in the vicinity of Cummings Creek, Harleston Village, September 2020 (08)

︎︎︎
Gadsden Creek reclaims portions of its former area during King Tide Flooding, Westside, November 2020 (09)


︎︎︎
The Cooper River inundates Morrison Drive in the former footprint of Vardell’s Creek during King Tide Flooding as the City warns motorists of anticpated flooding, Eastside, November 2021 (10)



︎︎︎
A horse drawn carriage navigates through tidal flooding on East Bay Street at the Charleston Battery sea wall, September 2020 (11)


︎︎︎
Floodwaters suround Sacred Heart Catholic Church on King Street in an area that used to be the upper reach of Newmarket Creek, North Central, July 2022 (12)

︎︎︎
Cars create a wake as they pass through floodwaters on Smith Street at Murphy’s Court, Radcliffeborough, January 2016 (13)
︎︎︎
A king tide inundates the BP Station at the Charleston City Marina, Harleston Village, September 2015 (14)

︎︎︎
Shepard Street, a major exit from Septima Clark Expressway (US Highway 17) onto Rutledge Avenue floods after a heavy rain, Westside, May 2020 (15)






︎︎︎
Stormwater flooding of Simons Street, North Central, May 2020 (16)


︎︎︎
A resident wades through Hurricane Irma’s storm surge on Queen Street, Harleston Village, September 2017 (17)

︎︎︎
Calvery Baptist Church is surrounded by floodwaters after a thunderstom, Westside, September 2020 (18)


︎︎︎
A vintage Chevy pickup truck surrounded by floodwaters after a summer storm, North Central, July 2022 (19)


︎︎︎
Stormwater flooding of Gordan Street in the old footprint of Halsey Creek, Wagener Terrace, March 2020 (20)

︎︎︎
Tidal flooding inundates South Market Street which used to be a tidal creek, French Quarter, September 2020 (21)


︎︎︎
King Tides inundate Hagood Avenue at Line Street in what used to be the heart of Gadsden Creek, Westside, November 2020 (22)

The map below shows the locations of the photos above. The number at the end of each photo description corresponds to the numbered location on the map. As you can see, most of the areas that typically flood are within the footprints of old tidal creeks.
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© 2022