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Heavy rain and clogged storm drains bring flooding to parts of Bakersfield

Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 05, 2024
  • Video shows heavy flooding on Truxtun Avenue following a short but intense rainstorm. The flooding caused damage to nearby homes, vehicles, and was caused by a clogged storm drain.

Lance Chow was driving trying to get back home to Delano Thursday night, when he turned into a neighborhood off Truxtun Avenue and Olive Street and his car stalled due to the water.

“Took too long to drain the water, took a good 40 minutes before the water receded" he said. "So the police department blocked off the area and helped me push the car out of the way, I was actually out by Truxtun Avenue.”

Chow's just one of the many who braved the storm.

“My brother said there were a lot of people getting stuck downtown under the bridge on Q Street," he said. "He actually turned around because it was too deep.”

Bakersfield City officials said the storm drains throughout town are regularly checked, especially before a storm, but even then trash, debris, and vegetation can get caught packing these drains and causing serious damage.

“The roads are built on a slope so they slope away from the center, if you’re driving through an area that you think has some standing water, try to stay as close to the center as you can," said City Spokesperson Joe Conroy.

The resident living on the corner of Truxtun and Olive said her home suffered damage due to the flooding. She said her garage was flooded with water reaching her calves. Once the water drained, it was clear the cause was a heavily clogged storm drain.

“There may be some areas that still need improvements but we do want to make sure that all those storm and drain systems are clear and working efficiently," Conroy said.

The City has been working to upgrade storm drains in problem areas. Currently they just completed a project on P Street and have the following four projects planned:
1. Chester Avenue Underground Crossing Pump Station Feasibility Study
2. Storm sewer Upgrades along Cedar Street, 21st Street, D Street and 23rd Street: This project is ranked as a high priority in the Master Plan
3. H Street Undercrossing Pump Station Inlet Expansion
4. Half-round Culvert Replacements: The Department is recommending a phased approach to eliminating antiquated drainage systems at 71-intersections in the Downtown area. Prioritization of work would focus on areas closest to existing storm sewer pipe to facilitate a direct connection, rather than rely on curb and gutter conveyance.

The city also advising drivers to take extra caution during these storms. Chow said he learned his lesson.

“If you see water, even it it looks small, don’t cross it. Don’t end up like me,” he said.

For now officials are urging residents to use caution on the roads, lookout for pooling and debris, and before the rain returns check your storm drains.

If you see any of the drains near you blocked, make sure to reach out to the City and report it at 326–3111 or 327-7111 for after hours.

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