- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2011

Washington-area officials began assessing damage Friday from torrential rains that a day earlier flooded roadways and neighborhoods in the region, killing at least three people.

Remnants from Tropical Storm Lee pelted the Northeast on Thursday, forcing hundreds of road closures and evacuations of more than 100,000 people in communities from Virginia to New York.

Torrential downpours and flooding in Virginia, Maryland and the District forced closures on the Capital Beltway, trapped drivers and their vehicles in high waters and drove some residents from their homes.

One of the region’s hardest-hit areas was Fairfax County, where some residents remained in shelters Thursday while others returned home in still-soggy conditions to help neighbors and pull their own belongings from flooded basements.

“This is the second time in five years that this has happened,” said Geoff Livingston, who lives in the Huntington area of Arlington, where residents were urged to evacuate Thursday night.

Mr. Livingston stayed in a hotel and returned home Friday to find about 4 feet of water in his basement.

“I think we got about 18 inches up the side of the house, and it got into the basement,” he said, adding that many neighbors are frustrated by a lack of response from officials. “We were like, ‘Not again.’”

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday declared a state of emergency, as emergency personnel looked at damage in neighborhoods and some roads remained blocked by water.

The region has been under heavy rain since Monday and is expected to receive more rain into early next week. Cumulative totals during the period could reach as much as 10 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

City of Alexandria spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said flood waters have mostly receded in the city, and that after a very busy night emergency crews spent much of Friday clearing debris and retrieving vehicles that were swept off roads.

A shelter was also set up at Woodbridge High School in Alexandria for displaced residents.

The floods had forced officials to stretches of the Capital Beltway in Virginia, over Cameron Run near Huntington and at the Mixing Bowl.

At least three people in Fairfax County died Thursday night when they were swept away by flood waters.

Officials said Jake Donaldson, 12, was playing with friends in his backyard in the 9700 block of Marcliff Court around 6 p.m. when flash flood waters swept him into a creek behind his home. Fire and police rescue personnel found him dead about two hours later in Piney Branch Creek at Lawyers Road, a short distance away.

A second person, 67-year-old Arsalan Hakiri drown when his car was swept away by flood waters.

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