Dean Estates apartments sits between Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston to the east, and the elevated bike path to the west.
In between, the topography is like a bathtub.
Nearly 60 residents were forced from the apartment complex after more than 10 feet of water came rushing into their homes during Monday's storm.
City officials say about 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in an hour or less in the area.
"The force of water so bad it broke the sliding glass doors," said Judy Cardillo, who lives at Dean Estates.
There are two state-owned storm drains on Oaklawn Avenue, and one that was covered with debris 50 yards to the south of the complex. All the drains tie into the Cranston storm drain system.
"They were flowing well. They were flowing full. They were flowing at full force," said Ken Mason of the Department of Public Works.
There are also two additional storm drains on the property that residents say are always covered over or clogged.
"Nobody cleaned them out from the last bout of rain we had," said Ryan Domenici, who lives at Dean Estates. "So when the big rain came this time, they were half cluttered up to begin with."
"In 20 minutes we had 15 feet of water," said Property Manager Casey Medas. "Let's use a little common sense and say that a four-by-four drain is not going to handle 15 feet of water over a 200 yard span."
Property management is letting residents back in slowly to get their belongings and is helping with relocation.