Mecklenburg County preparing for flooding ahead of Hurricane Ian

The Charlotte and Piedmont regions are not immune from potential flooding Ian could bring us later this week.
WBTV's Lowell Rose talked to experts including our Chief meteorologist about threat of flooding in our area.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 7:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte and Piedmont regions are not immune from potential flooding Ian could bring later this week. Mecklenburg County is checking out flood-prone areas ahead of the storm.

John Wendel, the Senior Communications Specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services said, “anytime you have a tropical system come up into the southeast and you always have to watch the track.”

Storm Water Services is already preparing for the impacts Ian could bring to us this weekend by checking out hotspots and clearing debris from streams.

“Yes, this is going to be a huge problem for Florida, but we can’t let our guard down because what happens there eventually, usually comes northward,” said WBTV’s Chief Meteorologist Al Conklin.

For the Charlotte area, that could mean heavy rain and flooding in problem areas.

“We’re letting people know if they have any blockages at some of the storm drains in front of their house, please clean those out, you know there’s more than 100,000 storm drains just in the city of Charlotte and so we can’t get to them all,” said Wendel.

The top areas in the city are along Little Sugar Creek in midtown and McMullen Creek near Addison Drive.

Wendel said, “we’ll be watching how fast the rain falls, and what duration the rain falls.”

Al Conkin said the mountains and foothills could see flooding because terrain and Charlotte could see flooding because of the urban makeup of the area.

Conklin added, “It collects in these storm basins and typically when we get these big events where we can get several inches of rain, we normally get urban flooding and it doesn’t take much even though we haven’t had a drop of rain around here in 2 and a half weeks, it won’t take much to get flooding in these urban areas.”

Experts say right now is the time to figure out safety plans if you live in a flood zone or near a stream.

“My advice would be to our viewers, know your risks, the creek, the stream behind you maybe be low right now, but because we have a large amount of rain that’s probably going to fall over a couple days period, those creeks and streams are probably going to rise quickly,” said Conklin. “If it does, what are you going to do? What if you get a flashflood warning in the middle of the night, where are you going to do? So we want to urge folks to stay weather aware.”

Wendel added, “people have to know their own property, if sandbags would have worked the last time we had a flood, well maybe you want to do that to your property.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services has a database available so people can check real-time rain gauges, creek levels and creek cameras in flood-prone areas. If you see a debris blocking a storm drain or a blockage on a named creek in the county, call 311 and someone will come out to clear it.

Mecklenburg County is having a Storm Water Flooding briefing on Wednesday morning at 11 to go over safety and how you can prepare for this storm.