Raindrops fall in Congaree National Park, one of many low-lying areas in the Midlands drenched by heavy rains.

More than 13 inches of rain have drenched Columbia since Jan. 1, a number more than double last year’s rainfall at this time, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Doug Anderson.

“The heaviest amounts of rain have generally fallen in the Upstate, although all of the Midlands has received above-normal rainfall,” Anderson said in an email. “Heavier rain to our north in the foothills and mountains has to flow south through our area rivers.”

The National Weather Service in Columbia has issued flood warnings for the Congaree River at Carolina Eastman, Congaree National Park and the North Fork of the Edisto River at Orangeburg.

Isolated, heavy rain can negatively affect Columbia’s flood-prone neighborhoods with low-lying roads, such as in Five Points. Residents only need to worry when the location, duration and amount of rain creates the perfect storm.

“As long as it’s spread out over a long period of time, generally, the impact is not as bad as one would think,” Anderson said.

When serious flooding does occur, Anderson advised people to be particularly careful around rivers and on the roads.

“It only takes 6 inches of flowing water to sweep people off their feet,” Anderson said. “12 inches can cause a car to be swept off a road, and 18-24 inches can carry off a truck or SUV.”

While heavy rain can disrupt everyday life with road closures and cancellations, Anderson said this weather is generally good for the Midlands.

“Most of our area experienced drought conditions last year,” Anderson said. “We are experiencing a drought-free start to 2020.”