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Norfolk stormwater crews get busy flushing pipes, clearing drains ahead of risky weather

Crews kicked into storm mode Thursday and Friday to get the city prepared for whatever comes this way.

NORFOLK, Va. — Hampton Roads cities are not sitting idle to see what Hurricane Isaias will do over the next few days.

Norfolk Public Work crews kicked into storm mode Thursday and Friday to get the city prepared for whatever comes this way.

The potential for heavy rain means it’s time to clear the drains. Stormwater crews drove through Norfolk neighborhoods in their yellow Vactor trucks to stop flooding before it starts.

"If we get a lot of rain with this potential storm, if those drains are clogged, the rain will have nowhere to go if it runs off the streets,” said Public Works Spokesperson Alana Smith.

Smith said anything that can build up in the drains, will.

"Litter, tree debris from leaves, yard clippings,” Smith said.

Crews hit the entire city, especially flooding hot spots like Ghent, Downtown, and Ocean View. They also cleared ditches and readied pump stations.

"There is a potential for flash flooding in some areas, so we are glad localities are working on that,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management Deputy Director Jason Elmore.

Elmore said neighbors can get ahead of high winds too.

"Look around your home and see do you have any patio furniture that is loose,” Elmore said. “You want to make sure that is stored away. “So, if you do get high winds, it's not something that can become a projectile."

When preparing hurricane kits Elmore said don't forget pandemic essentials.

"Items such as your face coverings, as well as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes,” Elmore said.

Smith said city crews have your back. Residents can report any issues through the Norfolk Cares hotline at 757-664-6510, or the mobile app.

“This is routine for them now,” Smith said. “Stormwater and Public Works, we don't blink when a storm is coming."

Smith said litter has become a huge problem in Norfolk during the pandemic. She said neighbors can help ease work for public crews by picking up any trash or debris collecting near storm drains by their home.