Sunday’s storm showed flaws in Vicksburg’s storm drain system

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

To borrow from a movie title, Sunday night’s bad weather brought out the good, the bad and the ugly.

The ugly was obviously the weather, which during its path through our area brought 10 inches of rain, high winds, a lightning show, the threat of tornadoes, landslides and flash flooding covering many city streets and county roads, forcing some people to evacuate their homes. Flooding also damaged Vicksburg’s wastewater treatment plant on Rifle Range Road.

The good was the work of the city’s and county’s emergency workers; the police officers, sheriff’s deputies, fire fighters, street and road crews and city maintenance employees who got out in the severe weather to clear trees and branches from roads, remove slides blocking roads and went through high water, either by boat or wading, to assist others in danger.

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There were also the utility crews who worked during the storm and in its aftermath to try and get power restored to area residents.

And then there is the bad.

Vicksburg’s antiquated storm drain system once again showed its age.

Much of the flooding was caused by the system’s inability to handle the runoff, causing water to backup in the system, covering roads and putting two inches of water in the Vicksburg Police Department.

We expect there will be times when some streets will go under in a heavy rain, but this is different, and it should be a warning to city officials.

No one argues our aging storm drain system needs work.

The city has a potential source of money to at least begin work on the storm drain system with the remaining portion of the $18 million bond issue the board of Mayor and Aldermen approved in 2015.

And while this is not a call to spend all the money on drainage, the board should at least consider using some of the funds to start rehabilitating the system.

Sunday’s storm showed a weakness in the city’s drainage system. It’s time to start eliminating it.