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Rising seas flood roads and force coastal SC DMV to move

January 25, 2020 GMT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A driver’s license office along the South Carolina coast is closing next month in part because increasing flooding from the sea is closing nearby streets needed for road tests.

The Lockwood Boulevard branch of the state Department of Motor Vehicles in Charleston will close in mid-February, agency spokeswoman Lauren Phillips told The Post and Courier of Charleston.

The building is near the Ashley River on the downtown Charleston peninsula and in an area especially susceptible to flooding.

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And rising sea levels are causing more floods in that part of Charleston. The National Weather Service reported a downtown tidal gauge went above flood level 89 times in 2019. That shattered the record of 58 times in 2015. In the 1980s, the gauge went above that level an average of 10 times a year.

The 12 DMV employees will be moved to a new office across the Ashley River that opened in December. It has ample parking and no flooding problems, Phillips said.

“We need parking to serve our customers and road flooding was unpredictable,” Phillips said. “It would impact people’s ability to complete a road test, which would greatly change the operations on days that flooding occurred.”