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Is the city cleaning out storm drains in Columbia before Florence gets here?

Take a ride into Florence with the Air Force Reserves’ Hurricane Hunters

U.S. Air Force Major Stephen Pituch is in control of the U.S. Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron's HC-130J Hercules as it turns through the eye of hurricane Florence Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.
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U.S. Air Force Major Stephen Pituch is in control of the U.S. Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron's HC-130J Hercules as it turns through the eye of hurricane Florence Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

City workers are doing a number of tasks ahead of Hurricane Florence’s impact on Columbia.

One of the tasks at hand is cleaning out storm drains, the grate cover passage ways to the sewer system often along curbs that frequently get clogged by leaves, sediment and other debris.

The drains are being inspected and cleared in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, The State reported on Tuesday.

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“We do have the value of experience and hindsight to help us prepare for Florence that we did not have in the wake of Joaquin (in 2015). And we’re going to leverage that experience,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said on Tuesday.

But according to an official at the public works department, it is illegal for the city to clean storm drains on private property. That would have to be done by a pumping company.

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