Public Works crews clear storm drains

Seventeen Public Works crews Monday to remove debris from storm drains in Memphis.
Thousands of drains exist in Memphis, and time is running out before what's left of Hurricane Katrina could dump inches of rain on the city.  Realizing what's coming, some citizens are got in the act to make sure their neighborhoods didn't flood.

Gail Black patroled her Midtown neighborhood looking for clogged storm drains.  Monday morning she and one of her neighbors cleared out several drains.

"I noticed a lot of debris in the storm drains when I was walking my dog," Black said. "I thought it would be best to get those cleared out."

Memphis city crews were busy Monday clearing off drains.  They found drains covered with everything from sticks and twigs, to grass and leaves, to plastic bottles and garbage.

City crews were working to prevent back ups in the storm sewers system that could turn Memphis streets into ponds and rivers.  Memphis Publice Works Director Jerry Collins says despite their best efforts, there will still be areas that flood.

"Most of those areas have storm drain inlets," Collins said.  "Even if they're clear prior to the storm, they become clogged during the storm, and that causes the flooding."

To make sure that doesn't happen, Collins said crews will be on standby, ready to roll at the first sign of high water.

Claud Talford with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency said he teleconferenced Monday with TEMA and the National Weather Service.  He said they are not anticipating wind damage in Shelby County, but are prepared for flash flooding.