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Storms wreak havoc on AM commute

Mark Berman

Cleveland Park entrance closed after severe storms. (Ed O'Keefe/Post)

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Major storms tore through the Washington region this morning, knocking out power, flooding roadways and wreaking havoc on traffic. Stay with Dr. Gridlock for constant updates, and share any and all of what you see out there in the comments section below.

We may get to do it all again this afternoon. The Capital Weather Gang says we may have strong thunderstorms and gusty winds.

1:30 P.M. UPDATE:

Metro is still reporting that the Cleveland Park Station is closed due to flooding. Shuttle bus service is in effect. No estimate currently on whether the station will be open for the afternoon commute.

12:05 p.m. UPDATE: D.C. officials are reporting that Connecticut Avenue is closed between Nebraska Avenue and Jenifer Street because of a downed tree.

11:50 A.M. UPDATE:
DDOT reports that the 7700 block of southbound 16th Street NW and the 2500 block of Military Road are now clear.
11:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The Cleveland Park Metrorail station is still closed due to high water, according to the latest Metro press release.

Trains are passing through the station without stopping. Shuttle buses are available between the Woodley Park-Zoo and Van Ness-UDC Metrorail stations to help get customers around the closure, it said.

As an alternative, customers can also use Metrobus route L2, which operates on Connecticut Avenue and serves the Van Ness-UDC, Cleveland Park and Woodley Park Zoo Metrorail stations, it said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson


D.C. emergency officials report that utility poles and trees are down in the 7700 block of 17th Street NW. The road is closed. This is near Kalmia.

10:50 A.M. UPDATE:

The problems from this morning's storms will be with us for a while as crews work to clear streets and restore power. Stay with Dr. Gridlock for the latest information on restoration efforts. Another good source of ongoing problems on the roads in Maryland is the State Highway Adminstration's real-time traffic information. And keep an eye on our traffic map for incident reports. You can also follow Dr. Gridlock on Twitter.

10:35 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Oregon Avenue is closed due to a downed tree near Western Avenue.

-- A house was struck by lightning at 2020 Taylor Street in Northeast.

-- Massachusetts Avenue is closed in both directions at Goldsboro Road.

-- S. Frederick Avenue is still blocked heading north at E. Deer Park Drive in Gaithersburg by debris in the road.

-- Southbound Columbia Pike/MD 29 is blocked at Prelude Drive in White Oak.

-- High water has closed U.S. 1 in both directions at Lincoln Avenue in Beltsville.

10:25 A.M. UPDATE:

The Cleveland Park station is still closed.

10:23 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The Silver Spring area Metro single-tracking has ended and the tree removed from the tracks.

-- Rock Creek Parkway is closed southbound between Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street due to downed trees. Broad Branch Road is closed between Beach Drive and Military Avenue. The 2500 block of Military Avenue is also closed.

10:13 A.M. UPDATE:

Oregon Avenue is closed between Western Avenue and Dogwood Street in Northwest.

10:10 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The Pepco outage number is 102,298.

-- And the traffic is actually moving on 16th Street. There are lots of trouble spots, but cars and Metrobuses are moving.

10:07 A.M. UPDATE:

MARC train 414 is approaching the Seabrook station about 20 minutes late due to a disabled Amtrak trak.

10:05 A.M. UPDATE:

There are dozens of calls in the District regarding downed trees, structural damage and other related issues (via @dcfireems).

10:02 A.M. UPDATE:

More 16th Street trouble, this time from the District Department of Transportation: Traffic signals are out on 16th Street between Sheridan Street and the District/Maryland line. Signals are also out on Georgia Avenue from Kalmia Road to Butternut Street.


There's heavy damage along 16th Street at N. Portal Street and Primrose Street in Northwest, including downed trees and road closures (via @dcfireems).

9:50 A.M. UPDATE:

Rock Creek Parkway offers a lovely creek-adjacent drive on most days. Today, the creek decided to join the drivers. The southbound lanes of the parkway were completely underwater, so southbound traffic had to drive over the median after Massachusetts Avenue, according to Washington Post Company employee Vijay Ravindran. He said police shut down the northbound side of the parkway for rush hour so it was restricted to two lanes instead of four.

9:45 A.M. UPDATE:

The 1700 block of Kalmia Road is closed.

9:44 A.M. UPDATE:

The Forest Glen Metro rail station has reopened, but Cleveland Park station remains closed due to power outages and flooding caused by the storm, and a Metro official said when Cleveland Park station will reopen remains uncertain.

"Right now we haven't set a time on it," said Metro spokesman Reggie Woodruff. "It's going to be dependent on them getting power back on, understanding there are other power issues around the city they have to address." Also uncertain was whether generators could be used to supply electricity before normal power is returned.

Cleveland Park station is flooded, which would further complicate reopening, he said. "At Cleveland once the power comes back up the flooding may be an issue as well and I am not sure how quickly we can get the water out of the station," he said.

Trains are moving through the station, indicating the tracks are not flooded, he said.

In another disruption, debris and a tree on the tracks has forced the single-tracking of trains between Silver Spring and Takoma stations on the Red Line, he said.

Shuttle busses have been running to ferry customers between the closed stations.

Metrobus and MetroAccess vehicles are also moving slowly this morning due to traffic congestion caused by debris and flooding in some areas, he said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

9:42 A.M. UPDATE:

Airports in the Washington region and throughout the Northeast are experiencing delays as severe thunderstorms affect air travel. The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting increasing departure delays between 31 and 45 minutes at Reagan National. Delays at Dulles are increasing and running at 46 minutes to an hour. Departure delays at BWI are running more than an hour. Similar problems are being experienced at Philadelphia, Newark, JFK and LaGuardia. The airports urge travelers to check with their airlines for the latest information on how individual flights are affected.

-- Michael Bolden

9:40 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Now just one of I-270's northbound lanes is blocked at Democracy Boulevard due to the weather.

-- Two Outer Loop lanes are still blocked at Colesville Road.

9:36 A.M. UPDATE:

The Post's Ed O'Keefe, who has apparently been on the Metro for about a week now, reports trains running in both directions at the Woodley Park station (as of 9:34 a.m.).

9:32 A.M. UPDATE:

According to Metro's Web site, the Forest Glen station has reopened. The Cleveland Park station is still closed due to flooding and a power outage. Trains are still single-tracking between Silver Spring and Takoma on the Red Line.

9:30 A.M. UPDATE:

There are about 150 traffic signals without power in Montgomery County. The county also reports about 72,000 without power.

If you're in that county:
-- Call 311 to report downed trees in the public right-of-way (if calling from outside Montgomery County, 240-777-0311).
-- For power outages, call Pepco at 877-737-2662, Allegheny Power at 800-255-3443, or Baltimore Gas & Electric at 877-778-2222.
-- Call 911 to report sparking or hot wires, especially across roadways.

9:25 A.M. UPDATE:

Traffic signals are out at 24 intersections in the District this morning, according to the District Department of Transportation. There are also signals flashing at 22 intersections. Traffic control officers, generators and portable stop signs are being utilized. (via @DDOTDC)

9:24 A.M. UPDATE:

Tree limbs were down and numerous traffic signals out along East-West Highway in Silver Spring, reports the Post's Robert McCartney. Traffic was still moving despite this. A parking garage and lobby were flooded in a downtown building near Colesville Road. A woman who drove from Silver Spring to Bethesda after the storm told McCartney that Silver Spring was hit harder than Bethesda.

9:22 A.M. UPDATE:

The northbound lane of S. Capitol Street between Virginia Avenue and Eye (I) Street in Southwest has reopened.

9:20 A.M. UPDATE:

Now the Post's Ed O'Keefe reports flooding at the Cleveland Park Metro station. O'Keefe e-mailed:

"At least some of the flooding at the Cleveland Park Station appears to have
occurred on the mezzanine level, at the bottom of the escalators that take
passengers into the station. Yellow caution tape blocks the entrances to
the station.

"About 50 passengers were onboard a Metro shuttle to the Red Line's Woodley
Park station at 9:10 a.m. Confusion among some passengers made it unclear
whether just the Cleveland Park station or the entire Red Line was closed."

9:18 A.M. UPDATE:

-- 16th Street is closed northbound at Farragut due to a downed tree. All traffic is being rerouted onto 14th or 17th streets in Northwest. (via @DDOTDC)

9:15 A.M. UPDATE:

The Pepco outages crack six digits: 102,238 affected customers.

9:15 A.M. UPDATE:

U.S. Parks Police spokesman Dave Schlosser said a driver dove out of a silver mini-van and was left clinging to a homeowner's fence on Broad Branch Road near Beach Drive after seeing a "15-foot of water" surging down the roadway towards him shortly before 8 a.m.. The wall of water swamped the van, Schlosser said, and washed it into Rock Creek where it floated for about a quarter of a mile before coming to a stop.

The driver "was hanging on for dear life", Schlosser said, but escaped injury. No one else was in the van, Schlosser said.

"I told the guy it was his day to go buy a lottery ticket," said Schlosser.

-- Mary Pat Flaherty

9:10 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The Cleveland Park station could be closed another "one to two hours," according to a WMATA official who declined to give his name to the Post's Ed O'Keefe.

-- The Outer Loop lanes are still closed at Colesville Road.

-- The accident on the Inner Loop at Branch Avenue has been cleared.

-- A tree is down at 2115 Sudbury Place in Northwest.

9:01 A.M. UPDATE:

MARC Penn Line trains are running 15 to 20 minutes behind, while Brunswick Line trains are running 20 to 30 minutes late.

8:59 A.M. UPDATE:

Rhode Island Avenue has reopened between 4th and 8th streets in Northeast.

8:57 A.M. UPDATE:

For MARC Penn Line commuters, Metro will honor your tickets.

8:56 A.M. UPDATE:

Canal Road is reportedly closed at Arizona (via @TBD).

8:54 A.M. UPDATE:

There are downed wires and a tree that fell onto a shed on the 5000 block of 16th Street in Northwest (via @dcfireems).

8:52 A.M. UPDATE:

-- High water is blocking two Outer Loop lanes and the right merge lane at Colesville Road.

-- There's also an accident on the Inner Loop at Branch Avenue that could slow traffic there.

-- Debris in the road is blocking three of four I-270 North lanes at Democracy Boulevard.

8:47 A.M. UPDATE:

The downed tree at Silver Spring is also impacting MARC riders on the Brunswick Line. Trains will switch to single-tracking and then run eastbound.

8:45 A.M. UPDATE:

Pepco's latest outages: 99,577.

8:40 A.M. UPDATE:

-- More Red Line issues: Trains are sharing the same track between Silver Spring and Takoma due to a tree on the tracks, reports Metro.

-- S. Capitol Street is closed heading north between Virginia Avenue and Eye (I) Street in Southwest.

-- Trains on the Red Line aren't stopping at Cleveland Park due to the high water, reports the Post's Ed O'Keefe. (The power is also still out at that station.)

8:37 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The Foggy Bottom station is full of water and should be avoided (via @TBD).

-- Flooding has closed Rhode Island Avenue between 4th and 8th streets in Northeast.

8:33 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There are downed wires on an occupied vehicle in the rear of 7705 16th Street in Northwest, according to a Tweet from D.C. Fire.

8:32 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Montgomery County reports about 200 traffic signals out.

8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Shady Grove Hospital has canceled all outpatient surgeries for the day after severe flooding inside the hospital resulted in major structural damage, according to the Post's Jonathan Forsythe. We don't have official confirmation at this time, but check with the hospital if you're scheduled for today.

-- Colesville Road is flooded at Sligo Creek Parkway, reports the Post's Anne Bartlett.

8:25 A.M. UPDATE:

Westbound New York Avenue's right lane is blocked at N. Capitol Street, possibly due to an S.U.V. with a smoking engine on the roadway, the Post's Michael Bolden reports.

8:23 A.M. UPDATE:

The Post's Mary Pat Flaherty reports that Military Road between the 16th Street ramp and Oregon Avenue are blocked in both directions due to downed tree limbs.

8:20 A.M. UPDATE:

There are also Metro delays due to the storm: A power outage has closed the Forest Glen and Cleveland Park stations on the Red Line. Metro says that free alternate routes are: Metrobus Y8 on Georgia Avenue (for Forest Glen) and the L2 bus on Connecticut Avenue (for Cleveland Park).

8:18 A.M. UPDATE:

-- High water has closed U.S. 1 in both directions at Lincoln Avenue in Beltsville.

-- High water is also slowing southbound Colesville Road/Columbia Pike between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard in Maryland.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Pepco's new outage number: 97,593. Looking at their live outage map right now, we see a pretty clear swath of red cut through the center of the region, with the biggest outages from Colesville down to Northeast and Northwest Washington.

8:10 A.M. UPDATE:

-- For what it's worth, the rain and lightning have abated in Northwest Washington. There are still downed wires, power outages, flooding potential and other storm remnants to deal with, but that's just the weather report from where I'm sitting. The flash food warning is in effect until 8:15 a.m., while the severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 8:30 a.m.

8:07 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There are cars in the water off of Canal Road, according to a Tweet from D.C. Fire.

8:06 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Pepco's site says the outages are up to 88,535. (Baltimore Gas and Electric has 5,369 outages.)

8:05 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Two of I-270 South's lanes are blocked at I-370.

-- S. Frederick Avenue is blocked heading north at E. Deer Park Drive in Gaithersburg by debris in the road.

-- High water is being reported at W. Montgomery Avenue at Shady Grove Road, Veirs Mill Road at Newport Mill Road and Clopper Road at I-270.


The District Department of Transportation reminds drivers to treat intersections without power as four-way stops.

7:57 A.M. UPDATE:

The Post's Michael Bolden reports flooding in the Glenn Dale area of Bowie, but no power outages. He also said the ramps to U.S. 50 have standing water, and that roadway is crawling. Lots of lightning, lots of drivers pulling over.

7:53 A.M. UPDATE:

The number of outages is up to 76,398, per Pepco.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Rhode Island Avenue is closed between 5th and 9th streets in northeast due to flooding. Cars are stranded, according to D.C. Fire's Tweets.

-- And on Georgia Avenue, the earlier accident hit a pole and took down some wires. There will be traffic headaches, so avoid that area if humanly possible.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:

Pepco is already reporting 59,730 outages on their Web site. The biggest outages are reported across Northeast and Northwest Washington, as well as around parts of Wheaton and Gaithersburg.

7:45 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services just Tweeted that there already numerous reports of downed wires and affected transformers, so there's the potential for outages.

-- There's an accident at Georgia Avenue and Aspen Street in Northwest, so expect delays in that area.

7:40 A.M. UPDATE:

More on the storms sweeping through the area: The fine Capital Weather folks say it'll particularly impact people on the northern side of the Beltway and into the District. There's also a flash flood warning inside the Beltway through 8:15 a.m.) If you can avoid trekking out right now, it's highly advisable.

7:35 A.M. UPDATE:

-- A pedestrian was struck at 7th Street and Florida Avenue in Northwest.

-- N. Frederick Road is blocked heading north at Brink Road in Maryland.

-- There's debris in the road on I-270 South at I-370.

-- I-495 North is even more crowded at Gallows Road.

7:30 A.M. UPDATE:

-- Lots of rain and lightning in the District right now. No matter how you're heading to work, be prepared for any related delays and issues.

7:15 A.M. UPDATE:

-- I-495 North is really crawling at Gallows Road.

6:50 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident is blocking two of I-270's southbound lanes at W. Montgomery Avenue in Rockville.

-- The accident on I-95 North is now just blocking the left shoulder before the Springfield Interchange. There might still be some delays in that area.

-- There are still potential delays on I-395 due to the vehicle fire in the reversible lanes, though the lanes do not appear to be blocked.

6:25 A.M. UPDATE:

-- A vehicle fire is blocking two northbound reversible lanes on I-395 North at Washington Boulevard.

-- An accident on I-95 North just before the Springfield Interchange is blocking two lanes as well.


Good morning commuters! Today, the heat might be mitigated by some thunderstoms, so either way it's going to be an interesting commute. Here's a look at issues on the road. If you see or hear anything and want your fellow commuters to know, please sound off in the comments below.

-- An accident on I-495 North at Gallows Road could slow down traffic.

-- A utility problem on Gorman Avenue at U.S. 1 in Laurel could slow westbound traffic in that area.

-- Another reminder of ongoing work: The District Department of Transportation's week-long paving of the Starburst intersection began Tuesday. The intersection, which has been undergoing a major reconstruction, is located where 15th Street, H Street, Benning Road, Bladensburg Road and Maryland Avenue meet in Northeast D.C.

The work will require lane closings for a few hours on each roadway, beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on Saturday. During those hours, street parking will be prohibited on the segment being paved. (via Bob "The Doc" Thomson)

By Mark Berman  | August 12, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Airports, Commuting, Congestion, Driving, MARC, Metro, Red Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Emergency for BWI-bound plane
Next: Cleveland Park Station reopens


PEPCO is terrible. Our neighborhood loses power at least 5-6 times a year for more than 4 hrs/day. I have a generator, but what about people who can't afford one and have to throw out hundreds of dollars of food many times a year. It is a disgrace. How much do we pay in taxes in Montgomery County? How much do we pay in electricity costs and fees to PEPCO.

Posted by: merv123 | August 12, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I love this region during storms... I almost got my car totaled by a State Highway Administration truck with NO indentifying numbers OR licence plates.

I was making a turn on Univ Blvd, waited for a while until two people remembered that out traffic lights are 4 way stops, and pulled out and was almost hit by a SHA truck that flew around 5 stopped cars to get through the intersection.

Two questions...
1) If SHA trucks can't be bothered to stop at shutdown lights and treat them as 4 way stops, why do you think commuters will?

2) Why does an SHA truck not have a plates or identification visible?

Posted by: Wyrm1 | August 12, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I hope somebody from WMATA is reading this.

"Red Line - Disruption at Cleveland Park. Cleveland Park station closed due to flooding. Shuttle bus service established."

This is somewhat useless and very misleading. Yes, the station is closed BUT trains ARE moving thought (which I only know from this blog). PLEASE PROVIDE FULL INFORMATION ON YOUR ALERTS!!

Posted by: r6345 | August 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Lightening is what happens when something becomes less dark.

Lightning is the bolt that comes from the sky during a thunderstorm.

Spell check is not always your friend...:)

Posted by: ceebee2 | August 12, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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