RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Parts of Richmond are still drying out after Monday afternoon’s heavy downpours, which caused flash flooding in some areas, and prompted an intense water rescue on the city’s southside.
Richmond Fire crews rescued an elderly woman and a minor from her car, which was submerged in water on Bainbridge Street. Firefighters used rafts to reach the pair trapped inside, as water rose above the car’s windows.
"The lady (pulled from the car) was so scared,” said neighbor Bayron Mash-Garcia, who saw the rescue in action.
Neighbors who watched the rescue say the storm water backup has never been worse in their Swansboro neighborhood.
“It’s been bad. Cars have gotten stuck, but not quite as bad as yesterday,” said Frederick Braxton, who has lived on Bainbridge Street for 21 years, and lives directly across from where the cars became trapped.
Flash flooding could be spotted across the city during the storm. A small sinkhole formed on a road bordering the University of Richmond, after water rushed over the street.
Just last month, Richmond City Councilman Mike Jones held a public meeting over flooding throughout his southside district.
“Let’s get a real solution on what we can do to fix this problem, that has gone on far, far, far long enough,” he said at the meeting.
“It’s as simple as just cleaning the (drainage) system,” said another longtime neighbor, Monica Burton, who has lived on the block for over 10 years.
Burton also lives across from where the water rescue happened, and says city crews haven’t been clearing the drains on her street as often as in previous years.
Angela Fountain, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Public Utilities, said the flooding on Bainbridge Street was caused by the heavy amount of rain in a short period of time overwhelming the drainage inlet. Fountain said crews cleaned the drain Tuesday and are also investigating for any kind of blockages that might be inhibiting the drain.
Fountain said that DPU does routine cleaning of drains across the city. DPU’s budget has also increased from $7 million to $15 million, which means more work can be done to help the sewer and storm water system. Currently, city officials say at least two dozen drain projects are planned for the rest of the year.
The community can help drainage issues as well, by making sure litter, like plastic bottles, doesn’t end up in sewers.
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