NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - As Hurricane Sandy heads up the east coast, public works crews in Hampton Roads are rushing to clear drains and ditches.
Because the storm is so late in the season, leaves could clog drains and make flooding worse than usual.
"Leaves can be a big problem," Jeneen White with Norfolk's Department of Public Works said. "That's one of the efforts we're having field crews do is to cleanup some of the leaves."
Photos: Hurricane Sandy.
Fifteen cleanup crews cleared drains and ditches in Norfolk's low-lying neighborhoods Thursday. Residents say they're ready for the flooding that comes with almost any storm.
"The sidewalks get flooded, the grass gets flooded, everything gets flooded," Norfolk resident Robert Alan said.
"It just gets incredibly deep," Kevin Cosgrove, who works in downtown Norfolk, said. "Our former librarian tried to drive through one of the intersections right up there a couple of years ago and wound up getting stuck in the car."
The crews used vacuum trucks to suck up the muck, so the water can get through the drainage system. And when needed, workers used rakes and shovels to get the rest. The city is asking residents to help in the effort.
"One of the things we want to make sure residents do is to go out and take care of clearing their storm drains and clearing their curb lines to mitigate as much as possible," White said.
White also reminds residents to tie down trees and signs and secure garbage bins, just in case Sandy is the real deal.
"Weather people have a tendency to cry wolf an awful lot," Cosgrove said. "Sooner or later we're going to get hit."
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Residents on the Peninsula saw severe flood conditions in late August after a rain storm dumped eight inches on the area in a matter of hours. In Hampton, officials say they are preparing more for tidal flooding from storm surge with Hurricane Sandy. They started clearing drains mid-week.
In Newport News, the City Line apartment complex that flooded in August is still vacant on the first floor from the previous storm. The apartment complex is working with the city on Hurricane Sandy preparations.
Crews in Newport News are also checking generators at the pump stations, checking known choke points in drainage systems to make sure they aren't blocked, and making sure bar screens are not covered in debris.
Stay with WAVY News 10 and WAVY.com for the latest on Hurricane Sandy.
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