Columbia, SC (WLTX) - When severe weather hits the Midlands that means possible flash floods and they start at places like the Rocky Branch Creek. It can go from one foot to seven feet in a matter of minutes and that's when the roads become dangerous.
"Rocky Branch as everyone knows has been problematic for years, it's just all the development around Columbia, all the water goes straight into the creek, there is no infiltration," said John Shelton, Associate Director for the SC Water Science Center.
At 3PM Monday, the water level at Rocky Branch Creek was less than two feet, but Shelton with says this peaceful creek can quickly turn into a roads worst nightmare.
"Around seven feet it will start breaking over the road, it gets a little higher and cars will start floating out of parking lots. Earlier this year we were at 10 feet which caused quite a bit of damage," said Shelton.
The science center monitors about 200 rivers and creeks in the state but at problems areas like Rocky Creek, they have cameras set up for real time tracking.
"When it comes up to four feet it will send alerts to different people but at seven feet is when we start to worry about it."
At 6PM, more storms rolled into the area and the water levels went up to nearly six feet.
Bill Stangler is the Congaree River Keeper and says they are prepared for flooding but its going to take a team effort from the city to help prevent future flooding.
"Right now we have to find ways to solve the problem and its going to take a lot of things from green infrastructure techniques to stream restoration projects and everyone is going to have to play a role," said Stangler.
And whenever you see streets covered with water, the experts have one simple request.
"People think they can drive through it and that is the worst thing that you can do. You have no idea how deep the water is going to be and the safest thing is to stay out of it and seek an alternate route," said Shelton.