Officials say drainage system has improved, but city still at risk as Harvey approaches

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NEW ORLEANS – Be prepared, but don’t panic.

That’s the message from New Orleans city officials as Tropical Depression Harvey strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico.

While the numbers may change as the storm approaches, right now Harvey is expected to dump 5-to-10 inches of rain in the New Orleans area starting this weekend.

MORE: The latest on Tropical Depression Harvey

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Aaron Miller, Director for New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said the city’s drainage system is improving, but still diminished.

Since the Aug. 5 flood, Miller said the city has brought back one turbine online, repaired three pumps and obtained 26 backup generators that have been installed throughout the system. Additionally, more manpower has been contracted to make sure every station is staffed in a worst-case scenario.

Even though the city’s drainage capacity has improved, we could still see flooding due to the diminished system.

“Right now, there is no need to panic,” Miller said. “We are encouraging the public to do the preparations they do for every other weather event.”

Dani Galloway, Interim Director for the Department of Public Works, is asking citizens to check their catch basins and clean out the ones they can.

Galloway said that since the Aug. 5 flood, the DPW has cleaned more than 800 catch basins around the city and several thousand feet of drainage lines.

Galloway asked residents to remove any garbage, lawn trimmings or anything else that may be blocking the catch basin. If your catch basin requires someone to lift the lid or remove anything from inside the drain, please contact 311 so it can be professionally done.

For more information on cleaning catch basins or planning for severe weather, visit Ready.NOLA.Gov