Seattle scrambles to clear storm drains as melting snow floods streets

SEATTLE — Warming temperatures and a lot of rain are causing a lot of snow to melt -- at least in the Seattle area. And that's causing some city streets to flood.

Part of the problem is that storm drains are blocked by ice and snow.

“It’s flooded everywhere. There's water all over,” said Elvis Martinez, who works  at Pro Tire in South Seattle.

“Because it is so wet, a lot of the slush is just overflowing into the streets,” said Mack Barry, who lives in North Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is warning residents about Wednesday’s commute. Transportation leaders say all the water on the roads could freeze overnight and create more treacherous driving conditions for commuters.

“It’s going to be another kind of tough few days,” Durkan said. “We’re predicting there will be freezing temperatures probably every night. The roads will continue to ice up and sidewalks will ice up,” she said at a press conference Tuesday.

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That's why the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities crews are out in full force.

They're tacking flooded streets and clearing the ice, slush and snow from storm drains.

KIRO7 caught up with SPU crews in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood.

“This is my foot right now and I'm putting it in and that's how high the water is building up,” said Richard Hawkshaw, with SPU. The water completely covered his foot.

“That's why we're out being proactive and doing this across the city right now,” Hawkshaw said.

People are preparing for the ice, too, shoveling the slush and remaining snow Tuesday, working to clear what they can.

“Oh, my goodness, my arms -- I can’t feel them anymore,” Martinez said.

He’s hoping to minimize the impact of the freezing temperatures

“Ice is the worst,” Martinez said. “We’re just tired of it. We got it. We don't like snow. Seattle doesn't like snow or ice,” he said.

City crews are working quickly but said they need your help, too.

“We have tens of thousands of drains in the city. You can help prevent localized flooding in your neighborhood by clearing the drain inlets near your home,” said Mami Hara, with Seattle Public Utilities.

SPU recommends that you use a snow or garden shovel, and do the work from a sidewalk - not in the street - to stay safe.

“The city will do everything that's our part but if everybody plays a part in it, we're going to be much more safe,” Durkan said.

You can also report a blocked drain from Seattle’s Find It, Fix It app.