As city residents scramble to trim trees and cut grass before Hurricane Idalia’s visit, Whiteville officials are asking for yard debris to be kept out of the gutters before the storm.
“When we get a heavy rain, the leaves, branches and everything else clogs the storm drains,” Emergency Services Director Hal Lowder Jr. said. “That leads to worse flooding problems.
“The drains have to be clear for the water to flow away.”
City crews began using the vacuum truck to clear drains on Monday, Lowder said. Public Works crews have started moving debris out of the roadway back onto the right of way before the storm.
“We understand wanting to have everything ready before a storm,” Lowder said. “The grass is going to grow really fast after this rain, and everybody wants their yard to look nice, and to cut down on the mosquitoes. But if there’s debris in the storm drains, there’s going to be even more water on the streets.”
When the storm moves in, Lowder said, motorists should avoid driving on flooded streets and under no circumstances should they drive around barricades or emergency vehicles.
“This is going to be at night,” Lowder said, “so it’s going to be even more dangerous. If you can’t see the road, you can’t see what might or might not b there. There could be debris, or the road could be washed out.
“Driving through high water creates a wake, just like a boat, and it can cause damage to homes and businesses. There’s no reason to be out driving around in a storm unless it’s a true emergency. Stay home and stay safe.”