Snow clogging storm drains could exacerbate any flooding, say Lenoir officials

Snow and ice clogging storm drains

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - Street crews in the city of Lenoir on Thursday scrambled to clear storm drains and road gutters of snow and ice in preparation for possible heavy rain on Friday.

More than a foot of snow fell on the city last Sunday, and despite some afternoons with above freezing temperatures, piles of snow several feet high still line some of the streets in town.

Jared Wright, director of Public Works, says many storm drains are covered and that could mean street flooding if heavy rain falls.

“There is the potential for that, yes,” he said.

Rain will melt the snow but not quickly enough said officials. In many cases the storm drains are buried under several feet of hard-packed snow and ice - that won’t melt quickly and leaving no where for rainwater to flow until it does. Street crews used heavy machinery to break up the ice on Thursday and crews with shovels cleared drain grates.

Officials said this situation in December is “unprecedented.”

Wright said crews would not be able to clear all drains, there are thousands in the city, there’s just not enough time. He is hoping whatever rain falls will be gradual so some melting will happen.

Drivers are urged to be on the lookout for high water and report any issues to the city. Crews will be working even during the rain to continue clearing trouble spots, said officials.

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