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Nearly a month’s worth of rain in 1 hour triggers travel nightmare in DC area

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
July 10, 2019, 2:15:31 AM EDT


Commuters in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area faced an extremely difficult and dangerous drive back to work on Monday morning following the long holiday weekend as heavy downpours flooded local roadways.

Videos have surfaced on social media in which the raging floodwaters turned roads into rivers. One social media user captured a video while driving through high floodwaters in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel on Monday morning and said, "You’re going to need a boat to pass underneath the Virginia Ave. underpass on I-66 in NW D.C."

Several water rescues were performed as high waters overflowed the roads. Local officials urged motorists to stay off the roads on Monday morning due to flash floods. Numerous roads in downtown Washington, D.C., as well as surrounding areas, were closed on Monday morning due to the floodwaters.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, told local news station WTOP that “all our folks are deployed right now” at about 8:30 a.m. He said “the storm drains are overwhelmed.”

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Heavy rainfall flooded the intersection of 15th Street and Constitution Ave., NW stalling cars in the street, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Washington near the Washington Monument.

(Dave Dildine/WTOP)

Motorists stranded in flood waters in Washington, D.C.

(AP Photo/ Alex Brandon)

Heavy rainfall flooded the intersection of 15th Street and Constitution Ave., NW stalling cars in the street, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Washington, D.C. near the Washington Monument.

(Twitter/ John Boulin)

Heavy rain flooded roads in the Washington, DC, area on Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ Sam Sweeney with WJLA-TV)

Cars drive through floodwaters outside Washington Dulles International Airport early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ Sam Sweeney with WJLA-TV)

Flash flooding outside Washington Dulles International Airport early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ Arlington Fire)

Arlington Fire crews are making multiple water rescues across the county. The entire region is under a flash flood emergency.

(Twitter/ Phil Horvitz)

A giant sink hole on Belfast Road in Potomac, Maryland, blocked traffic on Monday morning.

(Twitter/ Pete Piringer with Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service)

Water rescues performed along the Clara Barton Parkway in Montgomery County, Maryland. Five vehicles were rescued from high and moving water near the Beltway.

(Twitter/ Pete Piringer with Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service)

Water rescues performed along the Clara Barton Parkway in Montgomery County, Maryland. Five vehicles were rescued from high and moving water near the Beltway.

(Twitter/ WTOP News Reporter Nick Iannelli)

Streets surrounding Frederick High School in Frederick, Maryland, were flooded early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ WTOP News Reporter Nick Iannelli)

Streets surrounding Frederick High School in Frederick, Maryland, were flooded early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ WTOP News Reporter Nick Iannelli)

The heavy rain also toppled large tree branches around Frederick, Maryland.

(Twitter/ WTOP News Reporter Nick Iannelli)

Barriers were set up on the roads around Frederick High School in Frederick, Maryland.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Numerous vehicles were stuck in water as rain floods roadways in Frederick, Maryland.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Emergency personnel responded to stranded vehicles in Frederick, Maryland, on Monday.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Severe flooding overwhelmed parts of Frederick, Maryland, on July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Floodwaters seen in a park in Frederick, Maryland.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Floodwaters flowed around Frederick, Maryland, causing numerous travel impacts.

(Twitter/ Frederick Police)

Numerous vehicles are stuck in water as rain floods roadways in Frederick, Maryland.

(Twitter/ Jill W. Tallman)

The runway at the Frederick Municipal Airport was flooded early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/ Sam Sweeney with WJLA-TV)

Flash flooding outside Washington Dulles International Airport early Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Photo/@dcfireems)

Personnel from DC Fire and EMS helped rescue three people from high waters along S. Capitol St & Malcolm X Ave in Washington, DC, early July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/@laurelo14)

Heavy rain had inundated the King Street Metro area in Alexandria, Virginia, by Monday morning.

(Twitter/@laurelo14)

Heavy rain had inundated the King Street Metro area in Alexandria, Virginia, by Monday morning.

(Twitter/@laurelo14)

Heavy rain had inundated the King Street Metro area in Alexandria, Virginia, by Monday morning.

(Twitter/@laurelo14)

Heavy rain had inundated the King Street Metro area in Alexandria, Virginia, by Monday morning.

(Twitter/Captain Fard, Alexandria Police Dept.)

The Alexandria Fire Department rescued a stranded motorist near Daingerfield Road and Duke Street on July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/@LearnInNature)

Rain inundated parts of Fairfax County, Virginia, Monday morning. The area along with Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. had been under a flash flood emergency on July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/@LearnInNature)

Rain inundated parts of Fairfax County, Virginia, Monday morning. The area along with Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. had been under a flash flood emergency on July 8, 2019.

(Twitter/@LearnInNature)

Rain inundated parts of Fairfax County, Virginia, Monday morning. The area along with Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. had been under a flash flood emergency on July 8, 2019.


Deep tropical moisture across the mid-Atlantic states supported areas of slow-moving heavy rain over parts of Maryland and northern Virginia on Monday morning, said AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido.

"The heaviest rain targeted portions of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties and prompted the National Weather Service to issues multiple flash flood warnings," Vido said.

Much of D.C., Arlington, Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties received 2 to 4 inches of rain, with many areas picking up those amounts in only 1 or 2 hours. A National Weather Service Employee told the Associated Press that about 6.3 inches of rain fell near Frederick, Maryland. This heavy rainfall prompted street flooding, collapsed trees and water rescues.

In Arlington, Virginia, 3.3 inches of rain fell over the course of an hour at Reagan National Airport early Monday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. That's nearly a month's worth of rain, as the normal monthly total is 3.7 inches.

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The heavy rain also flooded the runway at Frederick Municipal Airport, covering the wheels of some aircraft. At the White House, the rain started to flood the basement. Meanwhile, the second floor entrance of the Pentagon "leaks" on Monday morning, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports. The flooding captured in Starr's photo is from rain coming in from the fifth floor ceiling and is also bubbling up from the Potomac River below.

A large sinkhole was reported on Belfast Road in Potomac, Maryland. WUSA9 News Anchor Annie Yu reported that her friend’s mother drove right up to it and needed to stop several other cars from driving over it.

Another sinkhole appeared under a home in Potomac. The backyard collapsed into the basement, and the home is now in danger of collapsing, reports WJLA-TV News Reporter Sam Sweeney.

Amtrak stopped all trains south of D.C.'s Union Station due to the poor weather conditions and high water on tracks. The Metrobus in Washington, D.C., experienced delays in both directions due to high standing water at the entrance of McLean Metrorail Station. Videos shared on social media captured water pouring down from the ceiling into the Virginia Square Station in Arlington, leading to single-tracking at the station.


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