- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Heavy rain and lightning caused flooding and thousands of power outages last night, the third day that storms hit the region.

An off-duty fire department captain rescued a woman trapped inside a vehicle that had water up to its windows at Davis Mill and Brink roads in Germantown after Great Seneca Creek overflowed its banks.

Flooding trapped about 30 people inside a recreation center on Meadowbrook Lane in Chevy Chase last night, Montgomery County fire department Capt. Oscar Garcia said. The center is in a hilly neighborhood and water had run down to the center, which is near Rock Creek.

Flash-flood warnings were issued across the Washington area as rain pelted the area after nightfall.

At Washington Dulles International Airport, 1.78 inches of rain fell just between 9 and 10 p.m. Roads into and out of the airport were flooded and some flights were delayed or canceled. Interstate 66 and Route 29 also were affected by flooding, and Interstate 395 was reported at a dead stop at 11 p.m.

With rain falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour at times, totals of more than 5 inches were reported in some areas.

“We’ve had a month’s worth of rain in one night,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “The water is coming down so heavy and so fast that it has nowhere to go.”

The normal rainfall for June is 3.13 inches, and that was surpassed everywhere before the storm had passed. The deficit for the year of 4.3 inches also was taken care of, Mr. Feltgen said.

Columbia, Md., received 5.68 inches by 10:30 p.m. In Montgomery County, Wheaton had 6 inches. In Fairfax County, Reston had 6.29 inches, with more than 4 inches reported in Arlington and Sterling.

Police departments across the region reported flooded roads and trees and wires down but no major damage.

Emergency officials in Harford County, Md., said there was an unconfirmed report of a tornado sighting.

On the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway in Maryland, lanes were flooded near the Route 1 and Interstate 95 exits and a tree fell across all three lanes near Old Georgetown Road.

Thousands of power outages were reported by Potomac Electric Power Co. and Dominion Virginia Power, including more than 25,000 in Virginia at the height of the storm.

Earlier in the day, high water on Maryland’s Eastern Shore washed out roads and forced some evacuations from homes.

Federalsburg Mayor Betty Ballas declared an emergency for the Caroline County town of about 2,600 residents in the morning.

Police Chief Donald Nagel said about 30 people were evacuated. However, by afternoon, some were being allowed to return to their homes as the water began to recede.

Federalsburg received 10 inches to 12 inches of rain overnight. Chief Nagel said that a command post had been set up at the town’s firehouse and that the Red Cross was on hand to help.

Caroline County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Dixon spent the day helping evacuate Federalsburg residents. He said the heavy rain had stopped by early afternoon, and the water had subsided a great deal by 5 p.m. But that was before the storm that hit the D.C. area headed across the Chesapeake Bay.

“I don’t think there’s been any panic,” Sgt. Dixon said. “Everyone understands it’s better to err on the side of caution.”

Jeff Welsh, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, said 4 feet to 5 feet of water were reported in parts of northern Dorchester and southern Caroline counties. He also said that a spillway in Galestown near the Delaware state line was at risk of giving way, but that no one would be in danger if it did.

Cpl. John Revel, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police in Easton, said hydroplaning cars were an issue. Troopers set up warning signs and cones on several roads with standing water.

He said they were watching Route 50 closely last night because water was starting to rise along the roadside and closures were possible as vacationers returned from the beach.


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