Flooding after storms plagues Mechanicsville streets; Watershed blames climate change

When it rains it really pours in one southwest Atlanta neighborhood. Residents say their Mechanicsville street floods when there is significant rain.

"It happens quick, maybe like, you know, 10-15 minutes, and it'll fill up this place," said Rashad Abdul-Haqq. "If the rain again is heavy, like during a big thunderstorm or something, it always fills up."

His family lives in Mechanicsville on Cooper Street. They say road flooding is an ongoing problem that creates a major mess during torrential downpours.

"Got to move the cars and if you don't move the cars, you get the trash cans floating around the street, and they're banging into the cars," Abdul-Haqq said.

Homeowners say the flooding happens in minutes but sticks around for several hours and leaves trash everywhere.

A year ago, Abdul-Haqq says he reached out to Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management, but nothing was fixed.  

"I'm livid because we're paying taxes on it and I want to make sure we're spending money that we're at least taken care of," he said.

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On Wednesday, FOX 5 reached out to the department about the issue and by Thursday morning, during another round of rain, a department crew was dispatched to the area to take a look at the problem. The crew was on scene for several hours cleaning at least four affected storm drains. They also used two fire hydrants to try and flood the street, but while the crew was on Cooper Street, the storm drains worked as designed.  

Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management released this statement: 

"The Metro Atlanta area has experienced heavy rainfall in the last several days resulting in concentrated stormwater and flooding in various city areas. These intense events are becoming more frequent due to climate change. 

"The Department of Watershed Management (DWM) consistently monitors weather patterns and rainfall amounts to understand their effects on the stormwater infrastructure system. DWM has made and is continuing to invest in its collection and stormwater systems by implementing projects/solutions that help reduce flooding and enhance protection against extreme weather conditions. In anticipation of inclement weather, DWM crews routinely work to ensure that stormwater catch basins and inlet structures are open and free of debris/sediment, especially in areas prone to water ponding and/or flooding. 

"Such measures enhance the functions of the stormwater system and safeguard both public and private properties. It is also vital that Atlanta residents keep a close eye on local weather advisories issued during heavy rain events and severe storm conditions and take the necessary precaution if they encounter flood conditions."

Neighbors say they are not sure if cleaning the drains will solve the problem. 

"I want the city to address this issue and I kind of want the city to look into the damage they've done to the cars and the yards of everyone's house," Abdul-Haqq said.