PennDOT and city crews prepare for storms

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PennDOT and city crews prepare for storms. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 4pm on May 17, 2018. (WPVI)

Crews are hard a work cleaning out inlets and drains across the area. Workers say it's a tough job staying ahead of sudden downpours, and with AccuWeather tracking rain for the next several days, crews know they have their work cut out for them.

"Depending on how bad they are...we can get anywhere from 12 to 15, to 20 inlet boxes a day, three or four hundred feet of pipe to maybe two or three, depending on bad they are. Some of them are jammed packed all the way up, some of them are six feet deep some of them are 10 feet deep," said Brian Epright with PennDOT.

Local rivers are swollen with all the rain, and water levels will only to continue to rise in the coming days.

PennDOT shared pictures, showing how the constant rain can cause drainage problems and lead to flooding.

"Probably the worse is on the expressway. Some of them are completely filled with leaves and debris. We clean it out one week and the next week it will be filled back up again. There is a lot of sediment coming out of the rocks and everything," Epright tells Action News.

John DiGiulio, with the Philadelphia Water Department, says his workers are also preparing for the storms and have crews out targeting problem areas.

"A lot of times debris, trash, leaves can clog the inlets and that prevents water from going down, so we have crews going out and cleaning those inlets and making sure they are accepting water and I don't think we've seen any problems so far, but we are going to continue to monitor throughout the next few days of storms," said DiGiulio.

City and PennDOT workers say they don't wait until the storms hit, but instead have crews out on a regular basis clearing debris that may build up and block storm grates and drainage areas, with special attention locations known to be flood areas.

"If we know there are storms coming, we always do inlet cleaning, we are always doing that. However, if we know big storms are coming, we go those high prone areas and we do that immediately before the storms, to make sure they are clean and able to accept the water that is entering," DiGiulio told Action News.

PennDOT provided these safety tips: Avoid driving through flood waters; keep both hands on the steering wheel; and if floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.

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