- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2019

The D.C. area will drying out over the next couple of days following Monday’s torrential downpour, which spawned flash floods that closed some roads and hampered subway trains during the morning rush hour.

Between 9 and 10 a.m. Monday, a slow-moving weather system dumped 2 to 4 inches of rain the metropolitan area. Residents on social media shared videos and pictures of water pouring into streets, cars submerged on roadways and the leaking roof of the Virginia Square Metro station.

“If you get more than an inch an hour, any city is going to start to have problems,” said Chris Strong, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “Three inches in an hour is going to cause problems in any major city.”

The District set a precipitation record of 2.14 inches for July 8, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport received nearly 4 inches of rain, Mr. Strong said, adding that mostly clear skies and temperatures in the 80s are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. About 6.3 inches of rain was reported near Frederick, Maryland, and 4.5 inches near Arlington, Virginia.

“Although it won’t be dry as some of the driest days we’ve had this summer, it will certainly be a lot drier than it has been in the past few days,” Mr. Strong said.

D.C. fire officials said they received many calls to rescue drivers stuck inside their cars in high water, in some areas as deep at 12 inches.

Rescue crews across the region received hundreds of calls for water rescues including motorists trapped in cars, traffic jams and home flooding. However, no weather-related injuries, major accidents or missing people were reported

Jennifer Smith, director of strategic communications for Arlington County, said emergency services received more than 600 calls Monday.

Of those, the county fire department received 25 water rescue calls and 27 calls for flooding homes, mostly from the north end of the county, said department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant.

“We’ve gotten one individual out of a vehicle,” Capt. O’Bryant said Monday. “Sounds like most people were able to get out before we got there.”

Ashley Hildebrandt, public safety information officer for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said that “30 water rescue calls came all at once” around 9:30 a.m.

“It’s important to also remember that just because the rain has stopped doesn’t mean there isn’t any danger,” Ms. Hildebrandt said. “Your car can get stuck in just a few inches.”

By 1 p.m., Fairfax County Police reported 30 road closures due to flooding, fallen trees and debris blocking streets. Sgt. Greg Bedor described the damage as “very extensive,” adding that some roads and bridges would need repaving and reconstruction — particularly along Kirby Road and Prosperity Avenue.

Meanwhile, Michael Yourishin, press information officer for the Prince George’s County Fire Department, said emergency personnel performed 10 water rescues near Fort Washington during the height of the flooding, calling it a “unique” occurrence.

“I would imagine we’re going to be back to generally running normal operations, not having to deal with water rescues so much, but you know, knock on wood,” Mr. Yourishin said. “Hopefully this is just a bad weather event, and we’re working through it.”

Even the White House sustained some minor flooding Monday, with a portion of the press room where journalists have work space in the basement puddling with rainwater.

Dave Boyer contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide