With as much as four inches of rain and sustained winds of 25–35 miles per hour expected through the weekend, Seattle Public Utilities is urging residents to maintain local street drains, to make sure they are free of leaves and debris.
During big autumn storms, street drains can easily become overwhelmed with leaves and the summer’s accumulated street debris, resulting in backed up gutters and drains, and localized flooding. In Seattle, for example, there are about 80,000 storm drains — far more than city crews can clear quickly.
Safely adopting a local storm drain or drainage ditch — that means staying out of the road when raking — by keeping it clear of leaves, snow and other debris is the single most important thing that residents, businesses can do to protect their property.
In addition to adopting a neighborhood storm drain, residents and businesses can take three other important steps to get ready for the storm season:
- Maintain gutters, downspouts, rain barrels, private culverts by keeping them clean, flowing and directed away from properties and hillsides.
- Know the emergency hotline number for your local drainage utility, to report sewer backups, major flooding and landslide issues. Take Winter by Storm is a one-stop emergency preparedness center that includes safety tips and regional resources for information about the weather, power outages, flooding, shelters and assistance agencies. In Seattle, that number for reporting flooding issues is 386-1800.
- Builders need to inspect and maintain storm drain “socks,” which can cause flooding when not properly maintained. Learn more here.