LAUREL, Md. (WJLA) - The City of Laurel, Md. and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) are taking steps to prepare for possible flooding from the expected heavy rainstorms headed this way Thursday into Friday of this week.
According to a statement by the City, Riverfront Park Path was closed at 9 a.m. Thursday, as officials said the water level was already starting to rise.
In addition, officials said WSSC had already opened the bottom valve of the T. Howard Duckett Dam Tuesday night, and opened one gate Wednesday.
They also indicated that the American Legion Commuter Lot would be closed Friday, advising MARC riders to plan ahead for alternative parking.
Residents and businesses along the Patuxent River were cautioned to keep abreast of warnings and conditions as inclement weather begins.
Between 2 and 5 inches of rain is expected to fall late Thursday evening through commuting time Friday morning.
The Maryland State Highway Administration also advised residents that officers are taking preventive measures, including clearing debris from inlets and bridge drains and removing any obstacles under bridges that could reduce efficient water flow. Additionally, crews are reportedly readying high water signs and notifying tree contractors to be on standby to clear trees quickly.
The SHA issued the following cautions and tips:
Always remember, turn around, don't drown, and avoid driving through standing water.
Keep gas tanks full in case of unexpected and possible lengthy detours;
Keep a charged cellphone handy, but don't use while driving unless hands-free;
Never try to move tree branches that have been entangled in electrical wires or try to move a fallen electrical or communication cable from the travel lanes;
Be on alert for animals, such as deer, crossing the roads as they flee flooded areas;
Ensure that windshield wipers and all headlights, hazard lights and turn signals are in proper working order; and
Allow extra braking distance.
During the recent storm on April 30, hundreds of residents in Laurel were evacuated from their homes due to flooding, and many businesses were impacted. In one extreme case, dozens of new and used cars at a dealership in the Route 1 business district were ruined by flood waters.
Keep up with ABC7 Stormwatch for the latest weather updates.