Darlington prepares for possible flooding

Darlington prepares for possible flooding

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The Pee Dee is preparing for the rain ahead of time in the hopes of decreasing the possibility of flooding.

The city of Darlington has hundreds of storm drains. Crews spent the day Thursday trying to clear them of debris that had collected on top of the drain and also inside of it. Workers will get out the leaves, straw and grass that has accumulated underneath the drain to get the water flowing again, said Karen Carroll, of the Street and Sanitation Department.

She said the work is concentrated at the intersection of Main and Broad Streets, which usually floods whenever there is heavy rain.

"With a prolonged rain event, we know it's going to flood for sure," said Lisa Chalian-Rock, planning director for the city of Darlington. "We're already warning people to stay out of that area."

Chalian-Rock said the ground and streets are already wet because of rain over the past week, so the entire system is likely to be overwhelmed.

"I don't think any system that age is going to be able to handle 10 inches of rain in two days when it's already had rain for the last ten days too," she said.

Joe's Grill sees the results of drainage problems. The restaurant's parking lot floods during heavy rain.

"Customers trying to get out to their car, it can go 6-8 inches deep," said Lisa Ralley, the owner. "I noticed last night when we got ready to leave, the whole parking lot was 8, 10, 12 inches deep."

Ralley said she's especially nervous about the expected storm.

"I'm really worried that if it floods, we can't even be open for business," she said. "That'll hurt not having that income coming in right now."

She said she would like to see a more permanent solution, so she can continue operating her business when it rains.

Chalian-Rock said it would cost millions of dollars to fix the persistent flooding at Main and Broad Streets. The area leads to an outfall and the pipes are too small to handle the water, so they would need to be widened.

The city of Florence and Darlington County had storm preparation efforts going on Thursday as well.

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