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Minneapolis asks residents to report flooding as it happens

Updated: July 17, 2019 10:25 PM

Heavy rain the past few days is leading to concerns over drainage in Minneapolis. The storms washed leaves and debris into storm drains, clogging them.

“It was just pouring,” said Kathryn Berrisford, who lives on Garfield Avenue S. “There was water all the way up to my knees.”

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She watched as the high water washed cars onto the curb and into the street. It also threatened basement apartments.

“We were all kind of watching it come up close to the door of the apartment building I was in and it was a little alarming,” said Berrisford.

RELATED: Mudslide temporarily disrupts Green Line, raises concerns as more storms approach

She prepared for more storms Wednesday night.

“I parked up high, I went straight for high ground.”

The Minneapolis Public Works Department told KSTP it tries to be proactive.

Director Robin Hutcheson said crews were out trying to clear the drains in flood-prone areas before the storms hit. They were back out on Wednesday vacuuming debris from the storm drains.

“We want to treat it early so we really want to hear through 311 if you’re seeing flooding on the streets,” said Hutcheson. “Once the flooding has occurred and the storm and rain have deposited that plant material into the storm drain, it exacerbates the problem.”

There are 29,000 storm drains around the city so she said they need the community’s help keeping them clear.

RELATED: Flash floods hit the Twin Cities area

“Our weather patterns are changing,” she said. “Storms are more intense, they drop more rain in a shorter period of time than they used to. We're tracking those trends.”

She said it’s causing manhole covers to move more frequently. Movement happens when pressure builds up in the system during a downpour.

Hutcheson told us they are looking at improvements to the storm tunnel system, possibly adding a parallel tunnel underneath downtown where runoff is the highest. She said they are also developing a pilot program in neighborhoods to test different methods of treating storm water even before it hits the system.

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Callan Gray

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