Columbia Prepares for Hurricane Hermine

The city spent the day cleaning gutters to get ready.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - As the storm heads towards the midlands, preparations are underway to ensure there is the least amount of damage as possible. On Thursday, some people in areas of Columbia that are prone to flooding took extra precautions to control the water.

"It floods and then we have to pick up the pieces," said Megan Orr, a manager at Delaney's on Five Points.

Orr says their pub, Delaney's Pub and Grill, is high enough to avoid most of the water during a storm, but it is a different story for their bar, Delaney's Speakeasy, down the street.

"It's down at the corner where it usually, typically floods," Orr said.

Orr says the last storm flooded that area so badly that some of her workers stood outside warning cars not to drive through the water.

"It just flooded fast and people didn't realize how dangerous it was," Orr said.

In fact, most of the businesses are in danger of flooding because of how low Five Points sits.

"Five Points is on high alert for flooding every day of the year," said Amy Beth Franks, executive director for the Five Points Association.

Franks says people can make the problem worse by driving through the area during a storm.

"When cars drive through Five Points their cars displace water, pushing water into businesses," Orr explained, "that's when you see the most water come into our stores."

That is why crews from the Columbia Public Works Department were out Thursday trying to help keep excess water off the road.

"They're washing out the storm drain system to make sure they're clean and functioning properly," said Robert Anderson, Public Works Director in Columbia. 

Anderson says it is easy for these drains to get clogged.

"Leaves falling off the tree, trash placed in the road for collection," Anderson explains, "just general litter washing down into the storm drain."

Anderson says these drains are cleaned regularly, but are given extra attention in times like these.
 
"What we do when we know there's a rain event coming is go back to the hot spots in Columbia and make sure those systems are functioning properly," Anderson said.
 
You can help keep the storm drains clear by picking up any debris outside of your home like piles of leaves, sticks, or anything that could clog up a storm drain. 
 
Franks urges people not to drive through Five Points while there is excess water on the roads to prevent it from being sent into the businesses.


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