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Blocked Storm Drains Cause Trouble in Kanawha County

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Throughout Kanawha County, heavy rains continue to cause trouble as storm drains and culverts are blocked by tree branches and debris.

With a flash flood watch still looming over the Kanawha Valley Thursday into Friday, Kanawha County emergency managers say the flooding could continue, with drains and culverts acting like dams and forcing water to rise above the creek beds.

C.W. Sigman, the county's deputy emergency manager, said that contributed to flooding in a vacant home on Smith Creek Road.

"At one time, it looked like a pretty good-sized culvert, but a third of it or so is blocked by rocks and things," Sigman said. "Another third of it, maybe, or a little less than that, is blocked by that log."

Sigman added, "The debris has a lot to do with it. I'm not going to say it has all to do with it, but it did significantly impact it, make it worse than what it otherwise would have been."

Sigman advised homeowners to take steps to clean up debris and tree branches so this doesn't happen to them.

"We use whatever resources we can to get it cleared up," Sigman said. "We would hope the homeowner would do a lot of it to help us out, because there's hundreds and hundreds of miles of streams in Kanawha County and we can't get to all of it."

Sigman said people should try to remove debris only if it is safe. Another option is to get a contractor to clean it up.

Down the road, Dale Nutter spent several hours Thursday trying to clean up near his house.

"Last night was a disaster. I mean, we've had more water coming along the road than I've ever seen," Nutter said.

Nutter, who has lived on Smith Creek Road for nearly 20 years, said he and his neighbors have all been cleaning and shoveling today, trying to clear the drain that goes under the road.

"The drain is actually right here at the end of the dirt," Nutter said, motioning to the edge of his yard. "It goes underneath the road. And from here, I don't know how far it's clogged up."

For people trying to clear debris from drains and culverts, Sigman noted that it should be disposed of properly in the trash, rather than simply moving it somewhere else where it could flood and clog the drains again.

Sigman also said that people should be prepared and be aware of the possible severe weather that could hit Kanawha County.

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