High River Levels Slow Down Business

9:00 PM, Jul 21, 2013   |    comments
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West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The on and off rain showers have made it tough for businesses on the river to keep their doors open.

"We will close the doors if that means customers are going to be safe," Palmetto Outdoor Owner Michael Mayo said.

Mayo says all the rain has been rough for business.

"Now with the higher levels it's been a trickier year for us this year," he said.

Mayo says they can rent out anywhere from 300 to 500 innertubes a day on the weekend.

But for the first time in their 6 year history, they had to close shop, including 4th of July weekend.

"July is a very important month for us, but with the water being up we've been closed almost for two weeks because we're not going to put anybody on this water when we deem the river to be unsafe," Mayo said. 

But it's not just the rain in the Midlands that's making the river levels rise.

"A lot of customers think that if it rains here in Columbia, the water will be up. Well, it can rain all day in Columbia, that has no effect on this river," he said. "It's what happens in North Carolina and the Upstate that really affects this river."

For the month of July, Greenville's rainfall is slightly 9 inches above normal, while Asheville's is almost 8 inches.

But there is one good thing that can come from all this rain.
"These little shoal-type rocks have turned into shoal-type rapids which is a lot of fun, they're perfectly safe, and customers are really able to have the best time of their life," Mayo said. "This is really a prime time to be out here on the river because the water levels have been up a little bit."

However, Mayo says it could take a while for customers to get back into the swing of things. 

"Business has picked back up, of course though, the stigma that's attached to the high water normally lasts for about a week or so and that's OK. We never try to push an individual that may feel unsafe about getting on this riverm" he said.

As long as levels are safe and the rain stays at bay, folks can continue rolling down the river.

Mayo says the river levels are 6 to 8 inches above standard levels, but is still safe to be in.

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