Local, state officials warn of possible flooding ahead of Joaquin

Local, state officials warn of possible flooding ahead of Joaquin

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte area has experienced seven straight days of measurable rain.

Some areas saw nearly three inches of rain come down. More rain is expected in the Charlotte area over the next few days continuing through the weekend.

"Here in Mecklenburg County," Charlotte Mecklenburg Storm Water Services Mark Boone said. "We are expecting seven to nine inches of rain over the weekend. That's a lot of rain for this area, so obviously we are on high alert."

Storm Water crews are checking the county's more than 150,000 storm drains. They have been checking to see if they are clogged. They admit they can't do that assignment alone.

"Monitoring that is quite the task," Boone said. "So we rely on people who are willing to call 311 or let us know on our Facebook or on our Twitter pages. And let us know about blockages because that could save a life."

The rain is a welcomed sight as parts of the area have suffered from drought-like conditions, but too much rain can cause trouble.

"Seven to nine inches of rain on any local area would cause immense impact as far as local flooding," Charlotte Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Kevin Gordon said. "And in an urban area, it can cause even more impact. Because of urban flooding, runoff parking lots, concrete areas can amass a large amount of water."

The Fire Department will soon discuss a plan to deal with Mother Nature.  Gordon tells WBTV the department is ready and trained for heavy rain. All firefighters are trained in swift water rescue and have the necessary equipment to keep people safe.

"We use a whole ray of information," Gordon said. "From the weather forecast, all the way to our equipment and training that we rely on heavily. But we also use technology."

Cameras are stationed at several creeks. The images can alert crews if flooding is happening and spilling onto the roads. Emergency crews can be deployed.

"We let them know that," Boone said. "So that they can respond and actually send a vehicle out there to block the road if it is going to flood."

During this rainy weather people are being asked to pay attention to flood watches and flood warnings. If you see dangerous flooding call 911.

After months of below-normal rainfall, here are some flood safety reminders:

  • Never drive through flood water. Turn around and don’t drown.
  • Don’t walk or play in flood water. Only six inches of moving water can sweep a person off their feet.
  • Flooded streets, creeks and streams are unpredictable. The water may be deeper or moving faster than it appears and may quickly rise without warning.
  • Heavy rain can cause any low-lying area or any street to flood, even if it’s not near a creek or in a mapped floodplain.
  • Any flood watches or warnings will be announced by the National Weather Service.
  • Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
  • Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
  • Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
  • Know evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.

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