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Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 09/30/2010

Rainfall mounts, flash flood warning continues

By Jason Samenow

Tornado watch continues 'til 1 p.m., risk highest east

* Tornado watch immediate metro area & eastern suburbs (map) *
* Storm impact coverage: PostLocal | CWG Live chat (10 a.m.) *
* When does it end? Full Forecast | Share photos | Dr. Gridlock *
* Flash Flood Watch thru today | Wind Advisory (eastern counties) *
* Outside now? Radar, temperatures & more: Weather Wall *

ALERT, 10:55 AM: A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for D.C., north-central Prince George's, eastern Montgomery and central Howard counites until 11:15 a.m. Even though there may not be much lightning, damaging winds near to over 60 mph are possible as this cell moves south to north through the warned areas. Locations impacted include Adelphi, Langley Park, Hyattsville, Takoma Park, White Oak, Colesville, Fairland, Beltsville, Olney and Aspen Hill.

10:45 AM update: The National Weather Service has extended the Flash Flood Warning for the entire metro area until 4:30 p.m.

From earlier...

Doppler estimated rainfall totals through around 9:15 a.m. Note scale in the upper left. D.C. designated by "X". Source: National Weather Service

A vast feed of deep tropical moisture extending south of Cuba is shooting up a front draped across the East Coast producing copious rainfall totals across the entire region. Through 9 a.m., generally 1.5-5 inches of rain has fallen across the region, with the highest amounts near the Bay. In the immediate metro area, the highest amounts have been in south central Fairfax county to eastern Prince William county where 2.5-4+" have fallen.

A flash flood warning remains in effect through 12:30 4:30 p.m. for the entire metro region. The National Weather Service reminds everyone:


One to three inches of additional rain, with locally higher amounts, is possible today. And there may even be a bit more heavy rainfall tonight. Stay tuned for more details in future updates.

* Keep reading after the jump (i.e. click "continue reading" below) for a list of selected (somewhat randomly) rainfall totals from across the region and please comment with storm conditions where you live. We'd especially like rainfall totals and to know about any reports of flooding. *

Here are some totals:

CWG commenters
4" in Oakton, from @FH59312, 7:45 a.m.

Twitter followers (@capitalweather):
2.35" in Reston (as of 8:25 a.m.) from @TheSonofLiberty, 8:20 a.m.

Weatherbug stations
1.40", Howard University, D.C. 9:30 a.m.
2.07", Reagan National Airport, 9:30 a.m.
1.34", University of Maryland College Park, 9:30 a.m.
2.46", NOVA Annandale, Va. 9:30 a.m.
1.70", Francis Scott Key Middle School, District Heights, Md., 9:30 a.m.
2.00", North Chevy Chase Elementary, Md., 9:30 a.m.
3.97", Calvert High School, Calvert county, Md., 9:30 a.m.
2.80", River Oaks ES, Woodbridge, Va., 9:30 a.m.

Previous alerts...

10:15 A.M.: Both Tornado Warnings referenced below have been allowed to expire.

ALERT, 10:05 A.M.: A new Tornado Warning in effect now for central Anne Arundel County until 10:15 a.m. Locations in the path include Crownsville, Herald Harbor, Millersville, Sherwood Forest and Severna Park. Take cover immediately if you are in or near these areas.

ALERT, 9:30 A.M.: A tornado warning has been issued for east central Anne Arundel county until 10:15 a.m. Doppler radar indicated a possible tornado near South River moving north at 25 mph. Location in its path Gibson Island, Pinehurst, and Port Smallwood State Park. Take cover immediately if in this area

By Jason Samenow  | September 30, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Floods, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Flash flood warning extended until 12:30 p.m.
Next: Deluge not done yet, flood risk remains


We had almost exactly 4" in our yard in Fairfax (just outside the city near the 29/50/236 interchange) as of 8:45am when I emptied the rain gauge (I'd dumped it yesterday evening, too, around 7:00pm). We'll see how much more falls through the day.

No real flooding, though we have areas of about an inch of standing water in the yard--mostly areas of lawn vs. those we've heavily mulched and allowed to go back to more natural habitat. We're in a low area not far from Pope's Head Creek and thus expect some standing water at times.

Posted by: exerda | September 30, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

One of the most impressive moisture plumes I've ever seen. Look at the cloud tops of the cells around the Bahama's and towards Cuba. And it shoots all the way into the Canadian Maritimes. Incredible.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | September 30, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Raining moderate-heavy hear in old town alexandria. A little windy too.

Posted by: snowedin85 | September 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

exerda - thanks for the report. Wow, 4" is quite impressive. Hope you and your property are ok... watch that Creek, please.

johnnyd2 - very deep moisture plume. LOTS of precipitable water and we have plenty of lift in the atmosphere to capitalize on it!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

snowedin85 - I like your screen name here, but I hope we don't make you "rained"in85 today ;) Anyway, yes, slowly the winds are going to pick up today. I left my windows cracked at home, but probably should have closed them. Yet here in Metro Center we still have fairly calm conditions. just heavy rain - wow.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Camden-Ha! After the winter of 2009-2010 I could never change my name even if it rains a foot today!

Posted by: snowedin85 | September 30, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I like your spirit

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Raining heavily at National Harbor. The wind has picked up a bit and is a little gusty too. Large area of heavy rain coming in to the beltway now and seems to be moving a little to the east.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | September 30, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

gotta say, i'm disappointed so far. i hear you guys talking about your 2" and 4" and so forth. i've got NO accumulation here. it keeps coming down, sometimes light, sometimes moderate, but then it just washes away...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 30, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

New severe T-storm warning up now for most of DC proper, except for the far western reaches.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if this is going to be one of those rain events where individuals are reporting 4" in LaPlata, 5" in Bethesda, 3.5" in Arlington, 6" in Sterling, and officially .45" at DCA.
This happened during that rainy period in August where people were reporting outrageous amounts of rain throughout the area, but Reagan National came in at something like a third of an inch.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | September 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Tad over an 1" here in NW Spotsy., as usual, I'm on the low end of the prec. totals. Cloudy but not raining now.
Looks like areas E of 95 will get the bulk of the rain the rest of the day.

Posted by: VaTechBob | September 30, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Just lost power in my Silver Spring office for five minutes. Zero wind; the leaves are as still as can be.

First blizzards, then an earthquake, now this -- what's next, locusts and plague?

Posted by: random-adam | September 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@ShovelPlease - it will differ on who had "training" over them and who didn't.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | September 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone want rain accumulation? I am seriously puzzled by this. I understand the pull and novelty of snow accumulation, even if I don't personally enjoy it much - and few things look as beatiful as a pristine landscape covered in new, deep snow.

But rain? All it does when it accumulates is flood basements and make driving hazardous.

Posted by: stacylane | September 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

stacylane, re "accumulation":
i'm joking... i'm pretending i think those people are reporting snow accumulation.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

About 4.75" in the rain bucket here in the Oakton/Fair Oaks area. Rain is coming down much lighter than before, and according to the radar, it looks like the western suburbs may be out of the thick of things at this point?

Posted by: FH59312 | September 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Why is there a "vast feed" of moisture? What is driving it?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

About 2 hours ago on H St. NE between 13th and 14th some PEPCO manholes filled with water and power was lost to a building. Some smoke in others. Still smoking. Roads closed.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Pouring it's backside off here by Beulah and the Parkway in Springfield/Alex. I was just about to go out and grab some lunch and then it started pouring hard. Guess I am going to wait a bit now.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | September 30, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Bitter_Bill, there is a major upper level low pressure trough digging down to about Cuba that is pulling moisture north... plus flow from the same direction thanks to a high pressure over the Atlantic.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, thank you.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 30, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

raining HARD here now. still only slight accumulation in low spots (puddles...).

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: aludholtz1 | September 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

So is this worse or better than Isabel?

Posted by: hereandnow1 | September 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

As of this morning (right near Wolf Trap), about 4.5 inches since yesterday noon. At least it's keeping the stinkbugs away.

Posted by: madsquopper | September 30, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

madsquopper - true about those darn infesting stink bugs...are you having a real problem with them? (like the WaPo article mentioned)

hereandnow1 - likely the rain will be worse, but wind much less... it's kinda like "pick your poison"

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 30, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) east of Baltimroe is now closed in multiple spots due to high water over the roadway. Never seen anything even remotely like this.

Posted by: marklandterrapins | September 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Just imagine if this were another snow'd make Snowpacolypse seem like a flurry

Posted by: maestrojmk | September 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

3.75"+ here in Arlington. Some water in basement. About what I expected so far, but could get ugly. I'm all for some rain, just would like it spaced out over time a little better.

Posted by: blackbear336 | September 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Is all that ugly looking stuff off the SE Coast headed up our way tonight?

I wish it would hang out down there 'til we get some cold air in place. After all that's happened this year, would be sinful not to cross at least the CY 40" snowfall threshhold (and 50 would be really nifty).

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | September 30, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

dang...sorry about your basement. is that normal for a big rain? do you have a foundation (commonly called a "french") drain?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 30, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow if the rain keeps streaming in the same pattern as it is now, I could see places on the eastern shore picking upwards of 8-10" of rain!!

Posted by: snowlover | September 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

3.25 inches in the Potomac Hills section of McLean, at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Last weekend we got 1.85 inches of rain, for a total of over 5 inches in 5 days, and still raining.

Posted by: John_V | September 30, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

5.20" in NE DC (Capitol hill area). A couple of times this morning we got some intense cats/dogs rainfall. You wanted it, you got it.

Posted by: jojo2008 | September 30, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"dang...sorry about your basement. is that normal for a big rain? do you have a foundation (commonly called a "french") drain?"

Depends on how you define "big rain". We responded in the past with the 90% solution - 9 out of 10 big rains are no problem. Our evaluation was that to fix that last 10% involved costs not worth the risk. This was a pretty extreme event, so at this point I'm not inclined to spend thousands of dollars. If it appears that these rain events are becoming more like 100 year floods (the ones that come every ten years any more), then we might have to reassess. Thx for your concern.

Posted by: blackbear336 | September 30, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

At 4 pm, radar shows a whole mess of rain east of a line from Richmond to Raleigh, extending southward all the way across South Carolina. It looks like it's coming our way. The model on predicts the worst of it will pass just to the east of DC. What does CWG predict?

Posted by: John_V | September 30, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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