Two people died in Northern Virginia after being swept away in rain-swollen bodies of water and residents in the Huntington area were urged to evacuate as torrential rain poured down on the region Thursday.
A 68-year-old man died in Fairfax County as his SUV was rushed away by the rushing water at the intersection of Carrwood and Bell Roads off Beach Mill Road in Great Falls.. Also in Fairfax County, a 12-year-old boy died when he fell into a creek and was swept away, the county's fire department says.
All across the region, torrential downpours closed roads, including parts of the Beltway, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the George Washington parkway. A flash-flood warning was extended until 12:30 a.m. for D.C., Arlington, southeast Montgomery County, western Prince George’s County, Falls Church and Howard County.
Charles County declared a state of emergency Thursday evening. The declaration will be in effect for seven days.
Residents can seek temporary shelter at the Charles County Department of Community Services building in Port Tobacco (8190 Port Tobacco Road). Dogs and cats are welcome there. Residents can call 301-609-3435 for non-emergency questions.
Residents in the Huntington area along Fenwick Drive, Arlington Terrace, Mount Vernon Drive and Liberty Drive were urged to evacuate Thursday evening.
Prince George's County is experiencing heavy flooding, particularly on the east end near the Potomac River as heavy rainfall overwhelms waterways. Eastern Prince William County has already had over 12 inches of rain and an additional 2 inches is expected over the next four hours. A range of roads are closed.
Upper Marlboro and Prince William County were among the hardest-hit areas as well and are seeing heavy flooding.
By 10 p.m. one lane was open in each direction on the Beltway at Route 1 and I-395. Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation are working to remove debris from the roadway and are expected to be there all night, VDOT tells ABC7.
On the Beltway at Cameron Run, water remains high. VDOT is unsure how many lanes will be open for rush hour Friday. Drivers are asked to check for the latest information before they embark on their commute.
Fairfax County schools will be closed Friday.
Throughout the D.C. region, pouring rains flooded roadways and some buildings, closed schools in Charles County and brought scenes similar to Hurricane Katrina to the greater D.C. area.
At least one person was reportedly killed by the flooding.
In Upper Marlboro, the water came up so fast that dozens of people became trapped. Rescuers climbed to the roof of one small building when they heard Sharon Monroe call out that she was inside with a friend and her dog. The rescuers actually broke through the roof to get to them.
Once on dry land, Monroe told us she thought the water would go down, but it kept coming up.
“I'll be 54 in November and this is a first,” she said.
Shaken up and cold, Susan Eisen says she's just grateful to be alive. She thought was going to die earlier Thursday when rising waters carried her vehicle from Bradley Boulevard at least 50 feet into the woods.
“The water kept coming up above the door,” she said. “Then it started to turn on its own and rammed into a tree.”
Rescue crews arrived and took nearly two hours to pull her from the vehicle’s sun roof.
Route 301 in Upper Marlboro disappeared under a torrent. Traffic backed up for miles in all directions as the county seat became an island unreachable by road.
William Shaw's home along Old Marlboro Pike is among those ruined by the flood. He says even though there were flash flood warnings he never expected anything like this.
“It’s devastating,” Shaw said. “Thank God I have my family, they're safe. I've never seen anything like this.”
Driving rain tore away large chunks of earth on the very edge of a busy highway. The threat of Route 301 collapsing prompted authorities to shut down the southbound lanes through La Plata
While engineers tried to come up with a strategy to shore up 301, other crews scrambled to restore washed out roads. The rain tore up more than twenty five of them in Charles County alone.
The sole route in and out of the Clifton on Potomac subdivision fell victim to a raging creek. Some residents found themselves trapped
“Couldn't get a car through there or a truck or anything,” said Charles County resident Glen Smith.
Residents loaded up on bottled water and hoped for a quick return of service but not more downpours.
Bowie resident Diana Arnold can't even begin the cleanup of her basement as she's still trying to drain what's left of the four feet of standing water she found at 4 Thursday morning.
The drain outside her door clogged, leaving the rains from the torrential downpour overwhelming her sump pump. Her locked steel door was no match for the pressure building behind it. As four feet of muddy water came flooding in, it took out entire appliances.
A four foot high water line reminding her of the instant destruction it brought and the damage that can't be undone.
“A lot of my memories are going to be swept away as well so I think that hurts the most,” she said. “I mean of course the money hurts but thank god I have a job.”
Heavy downpours also bring out potholes on streets.
“Right now the roads are really terrible,” said cab driver Abdul Conteh, who has been driving here for 25 years and says potholes chew into profits. “It costs us a lot of money to fix our cars - alignments and tires.”
The District Department of Transportation reported more than a dozen pothole complaints in the past few days. Its policy is to try to fill them within 72 hours, and some have already been repaired.
When the damage to a car is done, fixing it is expensive. Rob Steele, who owns "Town car repair," says repairs for pothole damage can run has high as the $1,000 he quoted a customer yesterday.