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Central Florida braces for heavy Memorial Day weekend rain

Drains cleared ahead of storms

ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida is expected to see heavy rainfall this holiday weekend and public work crews across the region are preparing. 

Jeff Charles, who works for Orange County, said crews have adjusted their workload to focus on clearing drains and flood-prone areas around the county. 

"We have had our crews out. They have kind of stopped the mowing operations and they're going out and checking our primary canal systems, our street systems, retention ponds and the 95 drain wells that Orange County maintains," Charles said. 

Across Central Florida crews are on standby and have been working all week to make sure drainage pipes are clear. 

Generally, public works crews in Orange County clean drains every two weeks, but when storms and heavy rain are expected, more attention is focused on flood-prone areas. 

"You're going to have little spot areas that flood in neighborhoods, some of the older neighborhoods, but we pay special attention to them. We monitor the ponds to make sure that the stage isn't coming up too high before we even get the real bad storm events coming," Charles said. 

The same has been done throughout Orlando city limits. 

Crews have worked every day, including nights, to clear drains.

A representative with the city said because of this, they have received fewer calls from residents about flooding than in previous years. 

But they do want to remind residents to be mindful in preventing drainage pileups.

A few tips for residents include:

· Bag It Don’t Blow It - Grass clippings and leaves clog storm drains and pollute Orlando’s lakes. Dispose of yard waste properly in bags or tied bundles and leave the waste on the curb on your scheduled trash collection day.
·Any trash or debris in the road or in yards ends up in our lakes or ponds, even if you don’t live on or directly near a lake. This is important to keep in mind and keep our streets clean!
·  The city of Orlando’s storm drains empty directly into more than 100 lakes. When it rains, pollution left on our city streets is carried to storm drains and directly to our lakes.

Charles said he's taken about 30 calls personally from concerned citizens. He wants them to know they're aware and prepared. 

In Seminole County, Emergency Management Director Alan Harris said crews have reviewed lake levels. 

Harris said no homes are in danger of flooding and he added that the area would have to see 10 to 15 inches of rain to cause a problem. 

In Marion, Osceola, Lake and Brevard counties, crews are on standby should they be needed. 

If residents in Marion County experience drainage or flooding problems they can call emergency management's nonemergency number Monday through Friday at 352-671-8686. For off hours, residents can call the Marion County Sheriff's Office nonemergency line at 352-732-9111.

In Orange County, residents with concerns can dial 311.