Clogged storm drains contribute to flooded roads in Jefferson County

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Some flash flooding is expected around Jefferson County due to the onset of rain. The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency says flooded roads are expected with the amount of rain forecast.

While the phrase “Turn around, don't drown” may be something people don't want to hear anymore, the Jefferson County EMA says it's still true and should be at the forefront of people's minds when traveling in the rain .

“Especially when water flows over the roadways. We don't want you to drive on it, we don't know what's going on under the road. It could wash out and therefore be very dangerous,” said Chris Tate, deputy director of the Jefferson County EMA. “We had a number of fatalities in Jefferson County and throughout the greater Birmingham area where unfortunately people were driving through flooded streets and not feeling well.”

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According to the EMA, just a few centimeters of rain is enough to make a car float. If the water moves quickly, it could be washed away. According to the Jefferson County EMA, every situation is different. However, if you encounter a flooded road, stay within your vehicle.

“If the water is strong enough to move the car, it is certainly strong enough to move you. It's kind of like a current situation where if you try to swim and fight the current, you're exhausted,” Tate said. “Plus, in those circumstances you’re going to have so much underwater that’s in there. You can’t see the debris and other things on the ground.”

The Jefferson County EMA says there is a way people can help at home to stem the flooding.

“Check those storm drains,” Tate said. “If they have stuff, we put it away.”

According to the Jefferson County EMA, the majority of roadway flooding is due to clogged storm drains, especially as the weather warms and people begin to take more care of their yards.

“Take a few seconds, clear them out, bag them up and throw them in the bin. This allows the water to flow freely much better,” Tate said.

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