Charlotte Mecklenburg Stormwater: Clean storm drains before Hurricane Idalia

Charlotte Mecklenburg Stormwater asks residents to check their storm drain ahead of impacts from the incoming hurricane.
The county is always clearing storm drains but takes extra steps when a significant storm or hurricane is expected.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Charlotte Mecklenburg Stormwater asked residents to help them clean some of the 100,000 storm drains throughout the city of Charlotte ahead of Hurricane Idalia.

“If those storm drains are backed up, the water is going to start to back up on the roadway. And we try to minimize that. And so if you could clear out any storm drain it really helps getting that water to the creeks and then into the floodplain and where it can all stretch out,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Stormwater Services Senior Communications Specialist John Wendel said.

Storm drains may be in front of residents’ homes or their businesses and simply need the sticks and leaves moved to ensure water can easily flow into the drain.

“Do it safely. Don’t go in the road and pull it out. Go from you know the sidewalk side and clear that out,” Wendel stressed.

The county is always clearing storm drains but takes extra steps when a significant storm or hurricane is expected.

“We’ve had thunderstorms ahead of the hurricane,” Wendel said. “So the creeks have been going up and down. The ground is saturated. So, if we go out and check some of the streams, we may have cleaned them out. But with the new rains, they may have collected more debris. So we’re constantly going out and checking the creeks for debris and for blockages.”

Residents can check the water levels in their area on the city’s Rainfall and Creek Data tab which also shows a live view of the city’s creeks on the “Creek Cam.”

While the storm drains should be able to handle the rainfall, Wendel explained it is all about timing.

“The creeks are falling all the creeks as of noon today have been receding. But if you get a heavy thunderstorm where you get one, two inches of rain in a very short period of time, it’s going to come up pretty quick,” he said, “Our creeks can handle maybe an inch to two inches of rain. But if you start getting three inches of rain in an hour, that’s you know, even in good situations it’s going to be hard to handle.”