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Removing debris from storm drains will help mitigate flooding from Ian

Charlotte Storm Water Services is asking residents to clear out storm drains, or call 311, ahead of Ian to reduce the risk of flooding from the storm.
Credit: James Brierton
A clogged storm drain along Sardis Road in Charlotte on July 7, 2022. Heavy rains had caused a nearby creek to overflow and deposit debris in the drain.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since heavy rain and flooding are forecast to be the main impacts from Ian in Charlotte, city officials are encouraging homeowners to clear out the storm drains in their neighborhood to mitigate potential flooding.

Timing will play a critical role on the impacts in Charlotte. A brief period of heavy rain all at once could cause flooding.

“Two, three, five inches of rain possible with this storm that could cause considerable flooding,” John Wendel with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services said Wednesday.

With more than 100,000 storm drains in Charlotte, officials are asking residents to help clear out clogged drains in their neighborhoods.  The extra help will make way for incoming rain and reduce flood-covered streets.

“Do it from the curbside, going out and cleaning it all out," Wendel said. "If you live on a busy street and feel uncomfortable about cleaning out that storm drain, you can call 311."

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Wendel goes on to say they have a system in place with emergency management to monitor water levels.

“We maintain the named creeks like Little Sugar, Briar Creek, McDowell Creek. And we have crews going out checking our typical hot spots where blockages occur," Wendel said. “If we get an alert saying that the water is rising on Addison and McMullin, and if it is going over the road, they’ll close the road."

 🌩️ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. 🎥

As the costliest natural disaster in Mecklenburg County, flooding ranks as the second highest cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States, according to officials.

The flood threat from Ian will continue into Sunday as rainfall and flooding continue to flow downstream across the region. Creeks and streams will flow the water to rivers, which flow from the mountains of western North Carolina, across both North Carolina and South Carolina out to the coast. 

Contact KJ Jacobs at kjacobs3@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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