Street crews switch gears from snow clearance to flood prevention

Street crews switch gears from snow clearance to flood prevention

SPOKANE, Wash. - On Monday, city crews were working round-the-clock to plow snow from the streets. By Wednesday, however, they were more concerned with urban flooding as warm temperatures defrosted the Inland Northwest.

"This is sort of typical winter weather. After the snow comes the melt," Marlene Feist with the City of Spokane said.

City crews were out Wednesday morning trying to clear storm drains and suck up as much water as possible to try and eliminate the flooding.

"Today we have wastewater crews out making sure that snow melt is going into the drains and not sitting on our streets," Feist said.

For the Thompson family in north Spokane, the snowmelt didn't end up in their street so much as it ended up down in their basement.

"I woke up and saw three inches of standing water outside my front window. My immediate thought was, 'I'm going to go down in the basement and make sure it's not in my basement.' I took a few steps into my finished basement and it was full of water," Genoa Thompson said.

The Thompson family's home sits at the bottom of a hill in north Spokane. They thought they had been doing everything right to prevent this disaster from happening.

"We come out, we clean our driveway, we make a path to the storm drain," Thompson said.

Unfortunately it was a snow plow that came along and pushed more snow over the storm drain, covering it completely, resulting in more than 100 gallons of water having to be pumped out of the Thompson family's basement.

"Now I have a full finished basement that's going to be trashed, I'm going to have to replace the drywall, I'm going to have to rip up all the carpet. It's just frustrating and it's hard," Thompson said.