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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.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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