Some Street Flooding Unavoidable During Local Downpours
Recent heavy downpours are causing driving hazards due to street flooding.It happens when street drains can’t handle the sudden volume of rain. Jeff Niermeyer is the director of public utilities for Salt Lake City. He says sometimes those pools of standing water get very large.
“So we have a crew that goes, and we basically call them storm routes, during these intense rain storms,” says Niermeyer, “[they]are going around trying to keep these inlets clean so the water can get down into the storm drain.”
Niermeyer says residents can help out by keeping their own street drain clear. He says areas where there’s a slope meeting a flatter street like Foothill Drive on the east side or 3rd West below Capitol Hill are some of the more problem areas for street flooding. But he says with the city’s master plan for flood control, the more serious issues are receding.
“I came to the city to do storm water work back in 1991, and the level of flooding that we had then compared to now, is just night and day different,” says Niermeyer.
Brian McInerney is the senior hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. He says it may feel like we’re getting a lot of rain because the storms have been intense and we went so many months with very little precipitation.
“It’s definitely welcome because when we look at the rains that have fallen,’ says McInerney, “what we’ll see is that people aren’t using their sprinklers to irrigate their landscaping and that’s really helpful at this time.”
McInerney says unfortunately the storms are hardly making a dent in the overall drought picture in the state.