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Common Problems: Weather’s Impact on Storm Drainage Systems

Read time: 6 min.
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Have you ever been stuck in heavy rain with no shelter? That’s what your storm drainage system goes through during bad weather. It’s not a minor issue – it’s about keeping our roads safe and flood-free. But what if the rainfall is too heavy or ice causes blockages?

We’ll look into these fluctuating issues, from drought-caused damage to wind-borne debris blocking drains.

But we won’t just point out problems. By this end, you’ll know practical ways to handle these issues, regardless of the weather!

Understanding Weather-Related Issues in Storm Drainage Systems

Storm drainage systems, like the ones we design at Allied Water Services, are crucial for managing rainfall and protecting property. But weather can be a formidable foe.

Rainfall is an obvious concern; heavy rain can overwhelm drains, leading to flooding. This isn’t just water under the bridge – it’s serious stuff that affects homes and businesses alike.

Snow and ice also pose problems. Freezing conditions can cause blockages in storm drains, which stop them from working correctly – think of it a traffic jam on your local highway but with much colder feet.

The Windy Woes

Wind-driven debris often clogs up drain pipes, too, making things literally and figuratively messy. 

Troublesome Temperature Fluctuations

High temperatures might seem safe, but they’re not always our friend. They could speed up evaporation, causing soil erosion around the drainage infrastructure—imagine sand castles crumbling at noon on a hot beach day.

  • Droughts: While less water may sound suitable for drainage systems, prolonged dry periods lead to hardened soils that don’t absorb water well when rains come—it’s akin to trying to soak up spilled coffee with burnt toast.

How Rainfall Affects Storm Drainage Systems

Rain, while essential for life, can sometimes be a headache. At Allied Water Services, we’ve seen how heavy rainfall can stress storm drainage systems.

Prolonged or intense rain increases water volume in the system beyond its capacity. This overflow might lead to flooding on streets and properties. But don’t worry – there are solutions.

The Downside of Heavy Rainfall

Flooding isn’t the only issue caused by heavy rainstorms – there’s more. Excess water flow can also stir up sediments and pollutants that settle in pipes during dry periods.

This sudden rush of ‘dirty’ water doesn’t just pollute our local rivers but could block your drains too. It’s like throwing a surprise party where all the guests arrive at once.

Mitigating Flood Risk from Rainfall

One effective way to reduce flood risk is through routine maintenance checks and cleaning of storm drains.

You’ll want your drain ready when dealing with a deluge from above. We offer professional services that help keep things flowing smoothly.

The Influence of Snow and Ice on Storm Drains

At Allied Water Services, we’ve seen firsthand how snow and ice can play havoc with storm drains. When these cold elements invade your drainage system, they can cause various issues.

Freezing Problems:

Snow and ice can freeze inside the drain pipe, causing blockages. This frozen buildup prevents water from flowing freely through the system, much like a traffic jam on an icy road.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms that blocked drains are one major cause of flooding in residential areas during winter months. A well-functioning storm drain is crucial to prevent this situation.

Icy Buildup:

Besides blocking up pipes internally, snowfall may accumulate around external grates or entrances to the drainage system. This forms an icy barrier that stops runoff from entering the drains – think of trying to get into your house when you’ve lost your keys.

Mitigating Snow And Ice Damage

You might be asking: “How do I fix these problems?” Well, regular maintenance is critical. Clearing gutters before winter hits will reduce potential blockages caused by leaves or other debris freezing within them. It’s also wise to use storm-safe strategies recommended by FEMA.

Remember – keeping our homes dry during winter storms isn’t just about comfort but safety, too. Let us help you stay safe this winter.

Effects of Wind on Storm Drainage Systems

The wind is a sneaky culprit in messing with storm drainage systems. Not only can it whip up debris and block the system, but it may cause erosion over time, too.

Blowing leaves, trash, or other residue into drain openings can lead to severe blockages. And just like that clogged kitchen sink at home annoys you, these obstructions slow down water flow and could even cause backups.

Erosion is another headache wind brings along. As winds whisk away soil from around our drainage infrastructure – a process known as wind erosion, they expose the underlying pipes, making them vulnerable to damage.

Fighting Back Against Wind Damage

However, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve at Allied Water Services. Our regular maintenance services include clearing out any accumulated debris in your storm drains before it gets a chance to create problems.

To tackle erosion issues head-on, we use protective measures such as stabilizing exposed areas with vegetation or other materials, which helps keep soil where it should be – not in your pipes.

Impacts of Temperature Fluctuations on Storm Drains

The weather doesn’t just affect our plans—it also messes with storm drains. And one of the biggest culprits? You guessed it: temperature fluctuations.

Rising temperatures can cause problems for your drainage system. As the temperature climbs, H2O evaporates more quickly than usual, potentially resulting in diminished water levels inside pipes and ditches. This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it’s a prime setup for clogs to form because there’s less fluid movement pushing debris along.

Research has shown that sediment buildup increases during periods of dryness or high evaporation rates—a bad news bear situation if you ask me.

On the other hand, freezing temps aren’t any friendlier either. When temperatures plummet below freezing, ice formation becomes an issue in drain lines—like brain freeze but worse…and for pipes.

  • Snow melt can overburden storm drains, causing flooding,
  • Frozen runoff forms blockages, leading to backflow issues,
  • Ice expansion can crack and damage infrastructure, resulting in costly repairs.

Allied Water Services knows these challenges all too well—but don’t worry—we’re on top of them.

The Consequences of Drought on Storm Drainage Systems

When drought hits, storm drainage systems can face serious challenges. The dry conditions cause the soil to harden and crack, making it less absorbent. So when rain falls, water rushes straight into drains, causing a sudden surge instead of seeping into the ground as it should.

This abrupt change in flow rate may lead to system overload or even damage due to the unexpected pressure increase. Moreover, long periods without rain allow debris accumulation, which could clog these systems (USGS).

Droughts also impact surrounding vegetation, leading to erosion around our drain structures at Allied Water Services. This results in more sediment entering the system during rainfall events post-drought (USGS – Earth’s Water Distribution).

Preparing for Drought Conditions

Regular maintenance checks are vital to combat these issues caused by droughts, especially after prolonged dry spells. Cleaning out accumulated debris is critical so that when rains do come, they don’t turn from a blessing to a problem.

Incorporating design features such as buffer strips and swales helps control runoff velocity, thus reducing the chances of erosion around drainage infrastructures (Stormwater BMPs).

At Allied Water Services, we’re experienced in designing and maintaining storm drainage systems that withstand weather extremes. Drought may be challenging, but with proper care and preparation, your drains don’t have to suffer.

Mitigating Weather-Related Drainage Problems

Weather can play tricks on your storm drainage system, but there are ways to fight back. At Allied Water Services, we’ve seen it all and have solutions that work.

The first step is regular maintenance. Just like you’d get an oil change for your car, routine checks of your drainage systems can prevent significant issues. EPA guidelines recommend inspection after heavy storms to ensure everything’s in order.

Rain Barrels: Your Secret Weapon Against Rainfall

A simple yet effective solution is using rain barrels at downspouts. These containers collect excess water during a storm, preventing overload on the drains. It’s a win-win as this stored water can later be used for gardening.

Fight Snow with Salt… But Wisely.

Snow and ice blockages? We suggest preemptive action by spreading salt before snowstorms hit. However, use it sparingly because excessive amounts could harm nearby plants or corrode pipes over time.

Baffle Wind Effects with Landscaping

To tackle wind-related problems like debris accumulation and erosion around drain outlets, strategic landscaping works wonders. Planting shrubs or installing fences helps break up wind flow while adding aesthetic appeal to your yard.

Remember – mitigation isn’t about reacting; it’s about preparing beforehand.


The weather is no small player in the game of storm drainage. From rain to wind, temperature changes to droughts – it can all throw a wrench into our systems.

Rainfall overwhelms drains, while snow and ice create blockages. The wind sends debris flying, causing more clogs and erosion. Temperature fluctuations wreak havoc on materials and cause inefficiencies.

Drought isn’t any kinder either, leading to cracks that damage functionality over time. We’re not at the weather’s mercy completely!

We have strategies for mitigating these common problems with storm drainage systems caused by weather! So here’s your takeaway: Stay aware of what the weather is throwing your way so you can keep those streets flood-free and safe.

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