Work crews busy clearing ditches ahead of rain

Work crews busy clearing ditches ahead of rain
A track hoe scraped away dirt and high grass, clearing the drainage ditches for the expected deluge of rain water. (Photo source: WLOX)
A track hoe scraped away dirt and high grass, clearing the drainage ditches for the expected deluge of rain water. (Photo source: WLOX)
"If we get as much rain as they're predicting, we're going to have flooding problems," Harrison County Road Manager Russell Weatherly said. (Photo source: WLOX)
"If we get as much rain as they're predicting, we're going to have flooding problems," Harrison County Road Manager Russell Weatherly said. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Filling sand bags and cleaning ditches. That's what many in Harrison County are doing to prepare for the heavy rainfall and likely flooding.

An employee of Utility Partners helped prepare sand bags for Anna Davis late Tuesday morning. She's concerned her home off Dedeaux Road may be vulnerable to flooding.

"Three inches and it's about to come in," said Davis, of the expected heavy rainfall that's headed our way. "I can't pick everything up and put it somewhere, so I'm going to put sand bags around the front door, back door and side doors."

It was the same storm-prep drill at the Lorraine Road work center.

"Getting ready for this weather!" said Chiquita Whitfield, as she and her friends loaded sand bags in front of the county work center. She's counting on those sand bags providing at least some protection.

"We're taking it to place it around the back part of our backyard. We have a ditch behind our house that overflows," she explained.

Click here for a full list of sand bag locations across South Mississippi.

All along the coast, public works crews are doing what they can go improve the drainage of flood water before the heavy rains arrive. In Gulfport, that means cleaning out the overgrown ditches along Gould Road at Pine Drive.

Heavy equipment does most of the flood prep work in the operation; scraping off overgrown ditches to clear the way for rain-fed flood waters to flow freely down the drainage system, rather than backing up into homes.

"If we get the type of rain they're talking about, we're still going to have problems. But we're just trying to do all that we can to prepare for it," said Harrison County Road Manager Russell Weatherly.

Like the Gulfport crew, Weatherly says his county road department team is also busy clearing ditches and checking problem spots.

"We will still have some culverts or some roadways even, wash out. Just completely wash out. So, that's going to make the roads impassable. Or if a culvert or the pipe itself washes out, that may cause flooding or divert the water to areas it's not supposed to go," he said.

Weatherly said his crews are on high alert to respond quickly to any flooding problems or washed-out roads, once the heavy rains arrive.

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