RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – As we transition to warmer temperatures our precipitation changes too. Instead of snow and steady rain, we'll get thunderstorms, producing a whole snow storms worth of liquid in just a few minutes. And if you aren't ready, that water can quickly cause a local flood.
"A lot of people don't understand what happens on their property affects the entire community," said Angela Fountain.
Angela Fountain with Richmond City Public Works is trying to get the word out. Keep your ditches clean. A winter of trash, debris, leaves and even old Christmas trees can clog ditches, causing floods when spring storms hit.
"Leaves at the end of the lawn end up being in the ditches," said Angela.
Angela says to compost or mulch those leftover leaves to keep them on your property, or put them into bags near the street. It's important to allow spring storm water to flow freely away from flood-prone areas.
So what about that wet winter? Does it ensure we'll have spring floods? Hydrologist Don Hayes with the U.S. Geological Survey says no, there are too many variables in play.
"There are no easy answers on it," said Hayes.
Our groundwater is high but that doesn't mean our soil can't soak up more, and because the temperature is climbing, and plants are starting to drink up water, that can hold down flooding.
"Just because you get 2 inches of rain/hour if you get it in the middle of the summer, you might not get anything. If you get it in the middle of winter, on snow or something, you might get tremendous floods," Hayes said.
Don says the best recipe for flooding is spring rains falling on top of snow-- and we thankfully ran out of snow a long time ago!