Tippecanoe Co. prepares for melting snow, flood potential

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Temperatures above freezing are in the forecast next week, which will allow some of the snow to melt. The melting snow and frozen ground could potentially cause flooding when the temperatures warm up.

“This time of year when the ground is frozen, you’ll get a little infiltration, but most of it will still be running out in the streets,” the Tippecanoe County Highway Department Executive Director Opal Kuhl explained.

The Tippecanoe County Highway Department is taking advantage of the sunshine this week. Kuhl said crews are trying to clear the snow off many storm drains.

“The crews went out and worked in the subdivisions. They did some more scrapping to see if they could get snow and the ice off of the roadways and get it back up on the sides of the roads. This will help if we have a lot of melting snow and water run-off in the streets,” said Kuhl.

Kuhl said snow-covered storm drains can potentially cause standing water on the roadways, which is why the highway department is trying to uncover most of the storm drains.

“We did that first because we are worried about the water draining properly, but we just thought if we got some of the material out of the way that it would be helpful,” said Kuhl.

Kuhl said the Tippecanoe County Highway Department is adding sand to the roads because there is a possibility of a wintry mix this weekend.

West Lafayette Street Commissioner David Downey said adding sand in the salt mixture is typical when there’s a wintry mix, but the sand could also clog the storm drains.

“It’s not good for the drainage systems. It gets down in the pipes and clogs it up. At that time, it becomes a nuisance,” Downey explained.

Both Kuhl and Downey said sand removal from the drainage system occurs in the spring.

Kuhl said the public can report a clogged storm drain by calling the Tippecanoe County Highway Garage.

“If they know there is a catch basin in front of their house, they can try to uncover it. I’ve seen people out working on them. If they feel that will help the drainage issues, they can certainly do that,” added Kuhl.

If there is flood waters or standing water in the road, it is important to driving through the water to prevent personal injury and damage to a vehicle.

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