by Heather Lowe
While spared the full fury of Hurricane Joaquin, South Carolina has been inundated with historic levels of rain over the past weekend. Unprecedented rainfall levels were recorded in the Charleston Metro Area, including the Turtle Survival Center in Berkeley County, in what has been called a slow-motion rain disaster. As stormy weather settled, power outages, road closures, and structural damage were widespread throughout the region.
During the center build out, we were proactive to install an extensive drainage system designed to handle heavy rains and prevent flooding. The system worked efficiently to handle the initial record-breaking nine inches of rain. However, as the rain continued throughout the weekend, we experienced some major flooding on the Center grounds. On Sunday night, our staff reported 18 inches of rain since Thursday.
The heaviest hit was the main building, which holds our service kitchen, food prep area, offices, conference room, vet clinic and the hatchling rearing room. No animals have been affected as our team moved turtles and tortoises from the flooded Forest Complex to safety.
We have a costly cleanup ahead of us. Ruined carpet must be removed, inside walls replaced, and downed trees cleaned up. Equipment such as ventilation fans and additional shop vacs are needed. Even though the rain has ended, the ground is too saturated to absorb water and it will take days before life at the Turtle Survival Center returns to normal. We need your help!