A gloomy sky hung over USC’s Horseshoe as Tropical Storm Nicole arrives. (Photo by Julia Goulet)

Low-lying streets in Columbia could flood, and Upstate residents should expect tornados as Tropical Storm Nicole impacts South Carolina starting as early as late Thursday. 

Heavy rain started in the Midlands Thursday afternoon and is expected to continue through Friday night. 

Residents can expect text messages from the National Weather Service if tornados are a threat in their area.

In Columbia, officials say to avoid the nearly 30 roads that are prone to flooding. Intersections on Blossom, Harden and Wheat streets are low-lying and flood more quickly than the rest of the city. 

Five Points, which is surrounded by hills and built on swampland, flooded most recently July 4 when more than 4 inches of rain fell in less than an hour. 

“Whenever we have that prolonged period of heavy rain over a short period of time, we have flooding – and it happens fast,” said Mike DeSumma, spokesperson for the Columbia-Richland Fire Department before the state’s previous hurricane landfall. 

It’s also important that residents steer clear of flooded roadways. 

“If you come across water in the roadway, do not try to guess how deep it is,” DeSumma said. “Turn your car around, don’t drown.” 

With hurricane season ending Nov. 30, it’s late in the year for tropical storms, said Tony Petrolito, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Strong winds bringing down trees. And power lines are another potential concern. Residents should buy food and water and have flashlights and first aid kits on hand in case of a power outage, DeSumma said. 

Additional safety tips are available here

Columbia’s flood-prone streets and intersections: 

  • Adger and Devine
  • Barnwell and Pendleton
  • Blossom and Henderson
  • Blossom and Pickens
  • Blossom and Saluda
  • Bull and Calhoun
  • Bull and Laurel
  • Cannon (3300 block)
  • Catawba (1200 block)
  • Columbia College Drive and North Main
  • Duncan (3200 block)
  • Franklin and Marion
  • Franklin and Sumter
  • Gervais and Laurens
  • Harden and Calhoun
  • Harden and Read
  • Harden and Santee
  • Heyward and Ravenel
  • Main and Catawba
  • Main and Whaley
  • Monroe (entire 3200 block)
  • Monroe and Maple
  • Pickens between Wheat and Green
  • Sumter (300 block)
  • Wheat (1400 block)
  • Wheat and Amherst
  • Wheat and Pickens
  • Wheat and Sumter


The National Weather Service held a briefing on Wednesday about the most likely arrival time of tropical-storm-force winds through Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. South Carolina is set to experience tropical-storm-force winds overnight Thursday. (Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service)


Julia Goulet

Julia Goulet

Goulet is a senior journalism major, minoring in political science, at the University of South Carolina. She is an opinion writer for the student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock. She was promoted to an opinion beat writer covering university politics. As the current opinion editor she covers topics from state elections to abortion rights. Goulet is a self-published author and has read 185 books (and counting) since January 2021.

Caleb Bozard

Caleb Bozard

Bozard is a senior journalism student at the University of South Carolina and is a news editor at the student-run Daily Gamecock. He has covered topics such as university politics and social issues. He investigated anti-Asian and Asian American racism on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic and covered leaked, racially charged and homphobic student government communications. He recently interned for the Orangeburg Times and Democrat and is a first generation college student from Barnwell, S.C.

Kailey Cota

Kailey Cota

Cota is a senior journalism student at the University of South Carolina. She is the 2021 S.C. Collegiate Journalist of the Year and the editor-in-chief of USC’s student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock. She spent the summer reporting on the Murdaugh saga, crime and business at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., and hopes to continue reporting about economics.