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Soggy day segues into damp night

Mark Berman
A flooded bridge in Great Falls. (Reuters)
A vehicle is stranded in the middle of a flooded intersection in Mclean. (Reuters)

ALERT: A flood watch remains in effect for much of the area through late tonight. More here.

POST NOW: Rescuers pull a dozen motorists from trapped cars. More here.

Live Traffic Map | Capital Weather Gang | Radar Map | Share your photos | NOAA Flood Safety

7:40 P.M. UPDATE: How was your ride home? Share your story by posting a comment below.

7:35 P.M. UPDATE:DDOT reports that Canal Road between Foxhall Road and Arizona Avenue NW has reopened.

7:23 P.M. UPDATE: Expect delays on U.S. 50 westbound in Arlington before Majestic Lane due to an accident and a detour.

7:10 P.M. UPDATE: An accident is blocking the center lane of 197 southbound just before 301.

6:50 P.M. UPDATE: Drivers are dealing with continuing slowdowns as a result of earlier accident. If you're headed north on I-270, traffic is slow between Shady Grove Road and Route 124. On the Outer Loop, you'll run into slowdowns just before Rockville Pike.

6:40 P.M. UPDATE: The latest radar images show storms pushing off the east. The rain is tapering off across the region, but slick roads -- and the risk of flooding -- persist. The Capital Weather Gang says a chance of showers remains with us through the night, but Thursday should bring a more pleasant day, and a better commute.


-- Little Falls Parkway between River Road and Massachusetts Avenue has reopened.


-- Traffic lights in Southeast Washington are reported dark at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street SE.


-- An accident involving a tractor-trailer has been reported on I-270 northbound near the Maryland 80 (Urbana) exit. The accident is in the left lane.

3:55 P.M. UPDATE: We're still receiving reports that Dalecarlia Parkway westbound between Massachusetts Avenue and Loughboro Road is still blocked by fallen trees.

3:15 P.M. UPDATE: Rains to the West have been dwindling, according to the Capital Weather Gang, but rain may still be locally heavy at times. Check out the current radar loop.

3:05 P.M. UPDATE: According to the District Department of Transportation, flooding was the main problem across the region during this morning's commute as it forced the closure of several roads. That remains a concern as new storms move into the region. Canal Road remains closed between Foxhall Road and Arizona Avenue, DDOT said.

2:55 P.M. UPDATE:

D.C. Fire/EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said that fire and rescue officials are gearing up for what they expect to be a nasty rush hour tonight, where they estimate that an approaching line of storms could dump an additional two inches of rain on an already sodden area in a matter of a few hours. Additional swift boat rescue personnel have been called in after emergency responders spent much of the morning's rush hour rescuing about 20 people stranded in cars at a half-dozen locations around the District. Many of them were mired spots in Rock Creek Park that routinely flood, such as the 4400 block of Broad Branch Road in Northwest Washington near Brandywine Street. There were no serious injuries, Piringer said.

-- Annie Gowen

2:30 P.M. UPDATE:

Know of a problem area? Please post a comment below or send an e-mail to You may also send us pics of flooded areas, downed trees and other problem spots or share them in our online gallery.

2:20 P.M. UPDATE:

-- The tree has been removed on Clara Barton Parkway.
-- Silgo Creek Parkway between Piney Branch and Maple Avenue has reopened.

1:50 P.M. UPDATE:

Water from two streams that crested their banks on the University of Maryland's College Park campus flooded several older buildings and closed Paint Branch Drive for about 1 1/2 hours Wednesday morning, said Dave Cosner, assistant director of operations and maintenance.

Hardest hit was the math building and a couple other older buildings with poor drainage around their foundations, he said. Damage appeared to be limited to soaked carpets and dry wall. Workers were using pumps and high-pressure vaccuum systems Wednesday afternoon to dry them out, he said.

Cosner said the university received four inches of rain in a few hours.

"That sort of downpour will overwhelm any kind of storm drainage system," Cosner said.

-- Katherine Shaver

12:50 P.M. UPDATE:

-- Traffic lights are reportedly out at Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane.
-- A wrecker is on the scene at 301 and Croom Station Road in Prince George's County, where a jackknifed tractor-trailer has been blocking the left lane in each direction.

12:35 P.M. UPDATE:

-- The accident on the Beltway near I-66 has been cleared.
-- Be on the lookout for an accident on the Outer Loop just before Ritchie Marlboro Road. It should be on the shoulder but use caution in the area.

12:15 P.M. UPDATE:

The District will make sandbags available to D.C. residents until 8 tonight. There is a limit of four per household. You can pick up your sandbags at the Department of Public Works New Jersey Avenue and K Street site in Southeast Washington. The entrance is on New Jersey at I Street. The bags weigh between 40 and 50 pounds, officials said, and you have to load them yourself.

The Capital Weather Gang says rain will be lighter and intermittent through the afternoon, but may intensify for the commute home, causing more flooding. We will keep you posted.

12:05 P.M. UPDATE: WUSA9 is reporting that two bridges in Fairfax County have been damaged by flooding. The report says that a bridge at 800 Swinks Mill Rd. has buckled (we reported on the flooding earlier) and a bridge at Browns Mill and Beulah Roads has partially washed away.

11:55 A.M. UPDATE:

Reports of fallen trees and traffic problems continue to stream into Gridlock HQ:

-- Clara Barton Parkway between the Chain Bridge and the Glen Echo turnaround.
-- Traffic lights are reportedly not working on Massachusetts Avenue NW between Goldsboro Road and Westmoreland Circle.

11:45 A.M. UPDATE:
A disabled vehicle is in the center of I-66 eastbound after Route 267.

-- The accident on the Outer Loop before I-66 is still causing delays.

11:25 A.M. UPDATE:

Readers, it's still raining, flooded and downright grim out there. Keep your eyes here for traffic updates and with the Capital Weather Gang for storm updates.

-- The accident on I-495 South before I-66 is still blocking the left lane, left center lane and right center lane.

-- The Beltway is still jammed up at a few other spots. Northbound at Braddock Road, southbound at Old Dominion Parkway and in both directions at River Road.

-- One of the right off-ramps is still blocked on the Outer Loop at Cabin John Parkway.

-- High water is still impacting traffic on University Boulevard eastbound at the Beltway in Silver Spring.

-- Water is also still impacting eastbound Massachusetts Avenue at Goldsboro Road in Bethesda.

-- The accident on U.S. 301 before Croom Station Road is still blocking one lane in each direction.

-- Rhode Island Avenue is still closed between 14th and 16th sreets due to a 30-inch water main break. DC Water estimates it will be repaired by 5 p.m.

-- The downed wires on Calvert and 18th streets are still blocking the roadway.

11:05 A.M. UPDATE:

-- One of the right off-ramps is blocked on the Outer Loop at Cabin John Parkway.

10:55 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident on I-270 North before Democracy Boulevard could slow northbound traffic.

-- An accident on I-495 South before I-66 is blocking the left lane, left center lane and right center lane. Expect major backups.

10:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The 1700 block of U Street in Northwest has reopened to traffic.

-- A large tree down is down at 5415 Galena Place in Northwest, blocking the road.

-- High water is causing problems on the Inner Loop near Georgia Avenue.

-- An accident on U.S. 301 before Croom Station Road is blocking one lane in each direction.

10:30 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The area flood warning has been extended from 10:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.

-- More water! A water main break at Rhode Island Avenue and Franklin Street in Northeast has left some fire hydrants and area homes without water.

10:22 A.M. UPDATE:

Downed trees along Route 1 between Laurel and Beltsville are preventing some teachers from getting to work at Northwestern High School. The storm also forced coaches to cancel the morning football practice, which was quietly welcomed by some players struggling to survive "two-a day" practices that began across Prince Georges County Monday.

Hamil Harris

10:20 A.M. UPDATE:

-- High water could slow traffic on University Boulevard eastbound at the Beltway in Silver Spring.

-- An accident on the Inner Loop before Georgia Avenue is blocking two lanes.

10:08 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There's an accident on the Inner Loop after Connecticut Avenue.

-- There's also debris on U.S. 50 East before U.S. 301.

-- A disabled vehicle on I-66 East is blocking the left center lane at the Beltway.

9:52 A.M. UPDATE:

-- A manhole fire at 17th and U streets has closed that intersection.

9:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident on I-495 North at Little River Turnpike is blocking one northbound lane.

9:42 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Roads are flooded in northern and western Fairfax County (via the county's Twitter account).

9:40 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Swinks Mill Road is shut down at Georgetown Pike due to high water.

9:35 A.M. UPDATE:

-- VRE Manassas Line train 332 is running 40 minutes late. It was running on Norfolk Southern rails, which had imposed flood restrictions, but now that it's not it should experience no further delays, according to VRE.

-- Rhode Island Avenue is closed between 14th and 16th sreets due to the water main break.

-- An accident on U.S. 301 North before Croom Station Road is blocking one northbound lane.

9:15 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Arlington Transit riders: ART 41 will be delayed due to heavy traffic on Glebe Road.

-- A downtown-bound Red Line train was taken out of service at the Dupont Circle station, according to the Post's Eli Reyes. The reason was unclear, but the doors weren't closing properly. Hundreds of passengers were put on the platform.

9:10 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There are downed wires on Calvert and 18th streets, closing the roadway. (Via @dcfireems).

-- A disabled vehicle is blocking one lane of I-95 South at Powder Mill Road.


-- There's a disabled vehicle on I-270 South after the Beltway.

-- The accident on the Inner Loop to the north of Central Avenue is still blocking one lane.

8:51 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Pepco's outage map reports 5,200 without power right now.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Trees have fallen on cars at 1600 Hobart Street and Beach Road and Porter Street in Northwest. (Again, via @dcfireems).

8:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- About a dozen motorists have been rescued this morning. Head over to Post Now for more.

8:40 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident on the Inner Loop to the north of Central Avenue is blocking one lane.

8:38 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Westbound Rhode Island Avenue is blocked at 16th Street in Northwest due to a water main break.

8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There's a disabled vehicle on U.S. 50 West before Collington Road in Bowie.

8:22 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Update on the water rescue at Waterside Drive and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. There were three or four vehicles, the occupants were evaluated and are okay. (Again, via @dcfireems).

8:10 A.M. UPDATE:

In case you missed it, with this morning's barrage of updates, here are two big road closures due to flooding:

-- Rock Creek Parkway is closed at Beach Drive.

-- Canal Road is closed at Arizona Avenue.

8:04 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Big delays on the roads in Virginia: I-495 North is massively backed up heading towards Tysons Corner, while I-66 East is also very backed up leading to the Beltway.

8:03 A.M. UPDATE:

-- And now there's a downed tree at Park Road and Beach Drive in Northwest.


-- The indefatigable D.C. Fire and EMS Twitter feed also tells us that several cars are stranded on Canal Road near the Thompson Boat House. They're being assisted now. (Correction: They meant to say near Fletchers Boat House, and they're assisting motorists with cars in the water.)

-- If you were hoping to avoid the weather issues by taking Metro...there are delays on the Red Line.

7:56 A.M. UPDATE:

-- This Tweet from a University of Maryland employee in College Park tells us that the Campus Drive entrance and several roads on the campus are underwater.

7:54 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There's also a water rescue with stranded motorists at Waterside Drive and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. (via @dcfireems)

7:47 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There were several vehicles in the water near Broad Branch Road in Northwest, but all of the rescues were made, according to a Tweet from D.C. Fire and EMS. They are evaluating 5 or 6 people now. The roads are flooded in that area.

-- There are water rescues ongoing in the area of Piney Branch Road at Beach Drive and Beach Drive at Rock Creek Parkway. (via @dcfireems)

7:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The Post's Ed O'Keefe is reporting that Rock Creek Parkway is completely shut down. If you're coming from Calvert Street and heading south onto the parkway, the roadway is completely submerged as the creek overflows onto the road. Cars coming down that winding ramp are being forced to do U-turns and go back up.

7:40 A.M. UPDATE:

-- A disabled car is blocking one Outer Loop lane to the west of Riggs Road.

-- There's also a water rescue at Canal Road and Arizona Avenue in Northwest.

7:35 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Update on the water rescue near Rock Creek: The Post's Tim Craig reports that Broad Branch Road is shut down at Brandywine Street. The water rescue squad is looking for trapped motorists while water is rising fast. There appear to be no injuries and it's unclear how many vehicles are trapped.

-- The Post's Melissa McCullough reports white knuckle driving on the G.W. Parkway southbound towards the Roosevelt Bridge and spotted at least two accidents.

7:20 A.M UPDATE:

-- WTOP is reporting that deep water has closed the westbound Dulles Toll Road between the Beltway and Springhill Road.

7:15 A.M. UPDATE:

-- A water rescue is underway due to a car in the water near Broad Branch Road and Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park.

-- The Inner Loop lane has reopened at U.S. 50 in Maryland.

-- The Post's Sara Goo reported on conditions from her drive in the District: Major downpours made driving treacherous and limited visibility, while parts of the city streets became overflowed with rushing water. The right lane of Connecticut Avenue in Northwest was flooded near the Van Ness Metro and on the bridge between the National Zoo and Cleveland Park. Drivers scrambled to move their cars from the street because of rising water from the gutter, while one cab had to let a passenger out in the middle lane because the right lane was so flooded. But traffic did move steadily as drivers slowed to 20 miles per hour.


-- An accident at Suitland Parkway and Firth Sterling Avenue in Southeast involves a car that rolled over.

6:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Water is blocking eastbound Massachusetts Avenue at Goldsboro Road in Bethesda.

-- A disabled vehicle on I-270 North is blocking two lanes before Falls Road.

-- One Inner Loop lane is still blocked by high water at U.S. 50 in Maryland.

6:25 A.M. UPDATE:

-- High water on the Inner Loop at U.S. 50 in Maryland has closed one lane and one of the shoulders.

6:15 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident on the Inner Loop to the south of I-295 is blocking one of the shoulders.

-- High water on the Inner Loop at U.S. 50 in Maryland could also slow Inner Loop traffic.

-- Westbound Norbeck Road has reopened at Bauer Drive in Rockville.

-- I-66 East is very backed up at Chain Bridge Road.


Good morning, commuters! It could be a very wet commute this morning. There's a flood watch in effect from 6 a.m. this morning through tonight, with the Capital Weather Gang predicting that areas inside the Beltway and to the east and south have the best shot at getting the most rain. Rain already began falling overnight. Recent storms have left us with flooded roads, downed trees, power outages and even flooded Metro stations. So keep this in mind and prepare for potential delays and headaches. And check back here throughout the morning for constant updates.

-- Westbound Norbeck Road is already closed at Bauer Drive in Rockville due to high water.

-- Southbound traffic on U.S. 1 at Quimby Avenue in Beltsville is also being slowed by high water.

-- If you're planning on flying today, the FAA and the airports advise that you check with your airline to see how your flight might be affected by the weather.

- Airlines serving BWI
- Airlines serving Dulles
- Airlines serving Reagan National

-- Here's the Post coverage of recent storms:

July 26 | Aug. 6 | Aug. 13

By Mark Berman  | August 18, 2010; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Airports, District, Driving, Maryland, Virginia  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Share your commuter rail stories
Next: Headaches on the horizon


For anyone who normally takes Hunter Mill Road between Reston and Vienna, note that there is flooding on the roadway at the lowest point on Hunter Mill Road. When I went through, the road was not closed, but the water was quite deep and I saw VDOT trucks nearby so I think there's a chance the road might end up being closed. Even if not, the water was pretty treacherous although passable.

Posted by: joemomma3 | August 18, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse


Everyone panic.

Posted by: sknyluv | August 18, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: pink1 | August 18, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

After decades of warning drivers NOT to believe their vehicles are motor-boats, are we now expected to feel sorry for the dumb'uns that do?

Posted by: kinkysr | August 18, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse


-- There's a disabled vehicle on I-270 South after the Beltway.

I-270 southbound ends at the Beltway, so where exactly is the disabled vehicle?

Posted by: GordonCash | August 18, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I took the Red Line from Glemont to Judiciary starting at 8:20 and other than being a bit slow it was fine. Only 5 minutes longer than normal.

Posted by: sophiamaria | August 18, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The flooding is making me trade in my prius for a Hummer. I do not want to be electrocuted by 200 pounds of batteries.

Posted by: jercha | August 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@ Jercha ---- lmbo rotf......
The flooding is making me trade in my prius for a Hummer. I do not want to be electrocuted by 200 pounds of batteries.

Posted by: pink1 | August 18, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The flooded bridge in Great Falls pictured at the beginning of this discussion is actually on Old Dominion Drive where it crosses Difficult Run. Difficult Run is actually 40' below the bridge. It is flooded because VDOT does not clean the drains regularly and the water collects and ponds across the bridge in heavy rain storms causing a serious safety problem. I sent VDOT an e-mail last week complaining about the blocked drains. They responded by telling me they have sent a work order to the Reston maintenance facilty to clear the drains. A little late.

Posted by: jculfsr | August 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

How are the "Parkways" in MD/DC - specifically Little Falls and Dalecarlia Parkways?

Posted by: yell53 | August 18, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Next time, tell them it's going to snow.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 18, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Dalecarlia pkwy is passable. One lane is blocked by two trees, but the other lane is open, as of 4pm.

Posted by: lrubens | August 18, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

lrubens: thanks. Once its dark it'll be dangerous (comes out of nowhere in the right lane)... and with all the construction by Sibley people are typically in the right lane anyway.

Posted by: yell53 | August 18, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Ride home was a-ok. Roads that were closed were re-opened by 5pm. No issues at all.

Posted by: pooooop423 | August 18, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Kill. All. The. Lawyers.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

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