Heavy Rainfall Expected Debris Blocking Roadway Swales Will Cause Countywide Flooding

A tropical storm system developing in the western Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is expected to bring heavy rainfall to SW Florida during the next several days.

Because large amounts of hurricane-related vegetative debris have been piled in the roadside swale system blocking drainage inlets and outfalls, it is expected that all areas of Collier County will experience flooding, especially on roadways.

Collier County Road Maintenance crews are working to clear swales and drainage inlets to mitigate the flooding, but because of the large amount of debris, flooding will occur. Crews will not be able to make a significant difference in the outcome.

Residents are urged to safely and immediately clear blocked storm sewer inlet drains, grates and swales of all obstructions including leaves, branches and debris.

Residents are reminded to be cautious of where they place debris piles. Do not block roads, swales, storm water grates, driveways, sidewalks, mailboxes, water meters, fire hydrants and utility poles. Never place debris in canals or other waterways. Debris removal trucks will make several passes through neighborhoods so it is not necessary to place all debris at the edge of the property/roadway now.

Additionally, it is important that residents closely monitor local news, heed warnings from the National Weather Service and local officials, and remember “If You Can’t See the Ground, Turn Around” when approaching a flooded roadway.

Important reminders during flooding:

• Never walk or drive in the flood waters. Many people are killed by driving or walking on roads and bridges that are covered by water. Even though the water might look only inches deep, it could be much deeper and have strong currents. It only takes two feet of water to carry away a car, and six inches of swiftly moving water will sweep a person off their feet.

• Find an alternate route around the flooded area. If you are approaching a flooded roadway, turn around and take an alternate route, even though vehicles in front of you may have passed through the high water.

• Don’t assume your vehicle is safe. High water in streets and intersections will quickly stall motor vehicles. Most trucks, four-wheel drives and sport utility vehicles also are susceptible to being swept away by high water.

• Never stay with your car in a flooded area. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.

• Never let children play near canals or storm drains when the water is rising or high. Swimming skills have nothing to do with surviving a flooded creek or stream. Flood time is not a time for play. Keep children out of flooded areas.

To report serious road flooding issues, please contact the Collier County Road Maintenance Division at (239) 252-8924.

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