Richmond storm drainage, flooding become concern as Ophelia moves in

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-23 20:49:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- It was two years ago, right around this time in September, that a large rainstorm struck Richmond, which caused massive flooding on I-95 in Richmond, and flooding of city streets like those right outside The Village Cafe in the Fan.

The 95 flooding was caused by debris from a car that got logged into the mouth of a drain, according to VDOT.

And, city officials said the Richmond flooding was because the city’s stormwater system is not designed to handle that much rain in such a short period of time.

That’s not a surprise to city resident Rachel Neisz who said she has watched the intersection at Monument Avenue and Sheppard Street flood over and over again for four years.

“It comes all the way out to the cars, it’s pretty terrible,” Neisz said.

Just last week someone submitted a request to the Richmond 311 system to clear a clogged storm drain at that intersection that had “been like this for months.”

Neisz said she anticipates the area to flood on Saturday.

“100% yeah, it’s pretty bad,” Neisz said.

The city said it’s cleaning clogged storm drains in stormwater hotspots throughout the city, and it is encouraging residents and businesses to keep drains free of debris.

As of Friday afternoon, out of 28 clear drain requests submitted by residents in the city since August 1, 10 of them had been completed.

Meanwhile, VDOT said its crews are inspecting and clearing low-lying and vulnerable drainage structures on state-maintained roads.

VDOT also said they will have pump trucks ready to address any high-water issues on interstates in the Richmond metro area.

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