Doral Prepares for Potential Rain Events
Doral, FL - As the City continues to prepare for the upcoming 2020 Hurricane Season, weather events are increasing in frequency that could potentially affect the City of Doral and its surrounding areas with heavy rainfall, resulting in potential stormwater flooding. While measures to mitigate flooding is year around, City administration and personnel are now working regularly to deploy a flood plan with all pertinent teams and agencies to lessen the likelihood of heavy floods and its effects on residents and businesses.
During inclement weather, the Doral Police Department is at the forefront to evaluate impact to the City and ensure a quick recovery for the safety of the community. Police officers and police service aides patrol the City on the lookout for flooded areas and communicate problem zones to the Public Works Department, which responds with barricades and temporary signs for temporarily lane closures. Officers will direct traffic, help disabled vehicles and move debris that may be impeding drainage or roadways. During strong storms, traffic signal lights may go out and police will inform the Public Works Department to determine whether it is a signal outage or power outage in order to contact the proper agency. In partnership with the Public Works Department, they work as expeditiously as possible to clear the streets.
The Public Works Department currently executes a maintenance and service schedule for City-owned or operated public stormwater drainage systems, in which all City-owned / operated systems are serviced on a biennial basis (every two years), unless the area is identified as in need of a yearly schedule. It should be noted that all primary roads throughout the County are designed for a 10-year storm and all secondary roads for a 5-year storm as required by Miami-Dade County guidelines. Property parking lots are designed for smaller intensity storms, thus the tendency of them to flood faster. A strong storm event that surpasses the design criteria or capacity of the system will overwhelm the systems and cause localized flooding, especially if the water table is high which minimizes ground water infiltration. During the May 26, 2020 heavy rain event, the City experienced a high volume of stormwater in which the Miami-Dade County rain gauges registered up to 8 inches of rain throughout the City, in a 24-hour period. From approximately 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, 7 inches of rain where registered by various County rain gauges. During a post-flood assessment, it was noticed that the eastern portion of the City was hit with the most significant stormwater as no major flooding was noticed along the western portion of the City in the areas where ponding or flooding usually occurs. During this rain event, the worst zones were the low-lying areas north and east of the Doral Government Center. The observed flooding is consistent with the flood maps created as part of the City’s Stormwater Master Plan due to the area’s elevation. Property owners can determine if their property is in a flood zone by calling the Building Department at (305) 593-6700 or using the Doral 311 link on the City’s homepage (www.cityofdoral.com).
Projects to minimize the adverse effects of heavy rain for the areas mentioned above have been ongoing since April 2016 when the City completed a stormwater improvement project along NW 55 St. (79-77 Ct.), NW 54 St. (79-77 Ct.), NW 53 St. (79-78 Ave.), and along NW 52 St. (79-78 Ave.) in which 2,900 linear feet of French drain (exfiltration trench) was installed along those corridors. In August 2017, the City also completed a stormwater improvement project along NW 56 St. (87-79 Ave.), NW 84 Ave. (54-58 St.), and along NW 82 Ave. (56-58 St.), where approximately 4,300 linear feet of french drain was installed along those corridors. While large amounts of water will overwhelm any system, in observing the dissipation of water in recently flooded areas within 2-3 hours of the event, it’s evident that the systems are indeed working. The current standing waters are receding at a slower pace as a result of the current ground water table elevation, as noticeable with the canal staging levels, which is directly associated with the ground’s infiltration capacity.
More improvement projects lay ahead as the City is in the final permitting stages with Miami-Dade County for the approval of a drainage improvement project along NW 57 St. (79-77 Ct.), NW 56 St. (79-77 Ct.), NW 78 Ave. (56-57 St.), and NW 77 Ct. (56-52 St.) which will increase the capacity of the area’s system. This project is estimated to commence construction between September and October of 2020. The Public Works Department is also in the design/permitting phase of an outfall to discharge into NW 58 St. Canal which will also benefit the area. All these improvements do not guarantee that there will be no flooding in the future, but will help mitigate the issue, as the main problem with the area is its elevation. The Public Works Department also remains in constant communication with Miami-Dade County and the South Florida Water Management District to verify and coordinate the canal level operation and request help if necessary. In addition, the Public Works Department has a contract with a vendor that provides vac trucks to remove stormwater when needed during flooding events.
Additional efforts to minimize ponding and flooding throughout the City include:
- Design of Stormwater Improvements along NW 114 Ave. (50-58 St.), and NW 50 St. (114-112 Ave.). (Construction scheduled for summer 2020)
- Stormwater Improvements along NW 84 Ave. (12-25 St.). (Construction phase advertised)
- Stormwater Improvements along NW 21 St. (82-83 Ave.). (Construction phase advertised)
- Stormwater Improvements along NW 24 Ter. (25 St.-89 Ct.). (Design phase ongoing)
- Stormwater Improvements along NW 79 Ave. (14-21 St.). (Design ongoing)
- Stormwater Master Plan Update – Plan will propose the City’s 5-Year Stormwater Capital Improvement Plan.
Educating the community on what they should do to prepare is also a big part of successfully preempting a flood event. Every June, the Code Compliance Department sends courtesy letters to property owners in the most flood-prone areas of the City. The letters outline recommended actions that property owners should take regarding their storm drains; specifically, to hire a professional company to clean out their respective drainage system at least one time per year. The Code Compliance Department continues regularly visiting these areas for the remainder of the summer months and conducts inspections to ensure compliance with city codes, working closely with property owners to educate them on their responsibility to service their drains. Additionally, Code Compliance is canvassing different areas of the City to see which private property parking lots have standing water that have yet to recede. Drains in those areas will be visually inspected and cited under the stormwater ordinance, which states that all drains must be inspected at least one time per year and maintained as to be free of obstructions, sediments, and other waste materials. Standing water is also important to remove in a timely manner because it is a contributing factor to mosquito breeding sources. Property owners are also recommended to implement flood proofing efforts and technology to protect their facilities. These collaborative efforts lessen the impact of flooding for future rain events and are key to protecting the life, safety and welfare of the community.
The City of Doral has the goal of keeping the residents and stakeholders informed. Follow our Twitter accounts (@cityofdoral and @DoralPolice) and our City Facebook page (@cityofdoral). Also, visit the City’s website, www.cityofdoral.com, where you’ll find the link to subscribe to Doral Alerts.