Local Communities Share Severe Weather Preparations

Severe weather is rolling through the region on Monday. As the community begins to assess the damage local authorities begin to take a look at their severe weather protocols and readiness.

How do officials prepare for these major weather events? Are the current infrastructures able to handle the sudden stress of massive amounts of water coupled with vicious wind gusts? One expert says more towns should invest in upgrades.

"We're seeing more intense rain storms more frequently and so the local jurisdictions need to be prepared for that, both in their response in terms of their emergency management when an event happens but in the long term thinking about their infrastructure," says Brian Ambrette, of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.

Delmarva officials like Garland Hayward say they are always working ahead to cut down on the damage caused by severe weather.

"We monitor our storm water drain system throughout the year anyway, but our public works director, Tracy Grangier, is on top of the news whenever there's a threat of heavy incoming rain," Hayward said.

Two to three inches of water is expected to blanket the region in a short amount of time, but local officials say they are prepared and ready.

In reference to preparation efforts, Somerset County Public Works official, John Redden, says "We try to prepare in as many ditches that we know we have a problem we'll clean those out. But you can't do a lot right as the storm is hitting. You're just really ready to react."

Even though officials try hard to get out in front of storm damage, there are still places that always pose a problem when torrential rain falls.

Hayward says, "One of our major concerns is right on Somerset Avenue, and that's the Manokin River. Depending on how fast and how hard it rains, sometimes, we have some over flow. The system is not designed to take the amount of water that comes down all of a sudden."

One expert says the best way to prepare is to make improvements to old systems.

"The biggest challenge is the expense of upgrading these things, a water waste treatment plant doesn't come cheaply. So building something with extra capacity that isn't needed at the moment right now but that waste water treatment plant has a life span of 30 or 50 years," says Ambrette.

In the meantime, experts are urging drivers to avoid flooded areas as some roads become makeshift rivers when heavy rain pours move in.


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