Clogged storm drains could intensify potential weekend flooding

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Warmer temperatures are moving in to melt the over thirty inches of snow that some parts of Michigan received this past week. According to Kent County Road Commissions this could cause serious flooding.

Storm drains are going to be the life saver, as long as people remember to clean them out, according to the Kent County Road Commission. The snow came before fall was over, and underneath all the white fluffy power there’s a lot of leaves that were never picked up. 

They are getting caught in the drains, and might make it hard for water to drain out properly.

Edward Novakowski, a resident of Grand Rapids, enjoyed Friday’s lull in the snow fall but he’s racing the clock for what’s to come.

“I’m worried about the flooding that could come this weekend. I want to clear out the storm drains on my street before it becomes a sheet of ice and I can’t get to it before the warmer temperatures come,” he said.

Freezing rain and warmer temperatures could melt a lot of the snow by Monday, but that creates a new set of issues for drivers and plows.

“Drains are going to be the biggest issues we have when it warms up,” said Jerry Byrne with the Kent County Road Commission.

That’s because most drains are clogged by some leftovers autumn left behind.

“A lot of the roads were covered with leaves and if we didn’t scrape them into the yards, they are going to be plugging those drains, and it’s critical they are cleared off,” Byrne said.

City trucks are trying to clear up as much snow as they can, spreading 6,400 tons of salt Friday, adding to the costs of this already very expensive winter pattern.

“Typically on this kind of storm we are going to spend $10,000 per hour in a 24-hour period, so in this storm when we add up all our bills, it’s over a million dollars,” said Byrne.

People like Novakowski who are digging out their drain are not only lending the city a hand, but could curb the outcome of flooding this weekend.

It’s not just Grand Rapids and Kent County Road Commission monitoring the snow melt, Muskegon and Wyoming say it’s also a top priority this weekend.

 

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