Early June’s deluge dumped eleven inches of rain on Weston in less than 48 hours, leaving streets submerged and lake levels rising throughout the city. Hopefully that experience served as a reminder that we need to be proactive to prevent flooding in Weston neighborhoods.
As a master-planned community, Weston was designed with an intricate drainage system to move water away from streets and properties to prevent flooding. Swales are a commonly used stormwater management tool. They slow down the flow of stormwater and allow runoff to pool temporarily until it can drain into the catch basin or evaporate. Swales also act as an important filtration device. Stormwater percolates through the swale into the groundwater aquifer, which is the primary source of drinking water in South Florida. Weston’s lakes and canals were designed to hold and move stormwater, in addition to providing a picturesque landscape. Despite the careful planning, large amounts of rain in a short period time, like we saw in June, can overwhelm the system.
Localized flooding, especially in swales and low-lying roadways, is most likely to occur when the catch basin (storm drain) is clogged. The catch basin is designed to trap debris, such as leaves, palm fronds, and litter, so that it does not enter the drainage pipes. Unobstructed water flow through these drains, especially during heavy rain, is essential to prevent flooding.
Weston residents should know the location of the nearest catch basin to their home and check it frequently to make sure it’s free of debris, especially after it rains. An unobstructed catch basin will allow stormwater to drain faster, reducing the chance of flooding. The City of Weston produced a video for its YouTube channel explaining exactly what steps residents should take to help keep storm drains clear in their neighborhoods. You can watch “Prevent Flooding on Your Street” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBTX86wrM3Y.
It’s important to note that the City of Weston does not maintain catch basins in Homeowner Association neighborhoods. If the catch basin on your street is clogged, please contact your HOA.
Residents may also notice elevated lake levels after a heavy rain. This is normal, as the lakes were designed to receive rainwater runoff. The South Florida Water Management District maintains an intricate system of stormwater pumping stations to move water throughout the distribution system. During heavy rains, the City of Weston Public Works Department operates pumps at the maximum allowable levels. There is no need to be concerned by elevated lake levels. They will gradually return to normal as the rain subsides and the water moves through the system.
In the event of localized flooding or other public safety concerns, the City of Weston uses its @WestonFLAlert Twitter account to relay notifications of an urgent nature or that will impact persons, property or travel. City officials recommend residents follow @WestonFLAlert, and set the audible alert feature, as well as subscribe to the CodeRED emergency notification system.