Flooding, travel delays
[This post will be updated]
Commuters heading home this evening due so with a flood warning covering much of the region. The advisory is in effect for the District, Arlington, Prince William, Fairfax and Stafford counties through 9 p.m.
The Capital Weather Gang reports that thunderstorms and locally heavy rain in excess of three inches are possible into the evening. A break in the heavy rain is expected to end around 6 p.m., when downpours with severe weather may arrive. It all will add up to a soggy, dangerous trip home for Washington's commuters.
"In stormy conditions, it can be more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs, and even the road itself," said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Local commuters and drivers, pupils and pedestrians need to be ready to face whatever challenges may come their way as the storm approaches and leaves parts of the metro area drenched."
Jurisdictions and transit agencies around the region prepared for a difficult Thursday. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency issued an advisory, urging people to stay abreast of the latest news reports and to prepare for possible road closures, downed trees and fallen power lines.
Officials warned that drivers should not attempt to navigate flooded roads, since the depth of the water may not be readily apparent, and the road may even have been washed away. To add emphasis to the message, D.C. authorities reported a car in the water on Anacostia Drive SE. Crews were searching to see if there was a person in the area as well.
Flooding was reported in the streets of Old Town Alexandria and at least 13 roads in Frederick County were closed. The Potomac was high, and Hains Point was closed. Rock Creek was out of its banks in some stretches.
Commuters were warned to add extra time. Conditions were expected to be difficult for everyone. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Maryland State Police Aviation Command was standing by to assist with water rescues if needed.
"Rain and flooding are significant forces of nature that citizens tend to underestimate and for which everyone should be prepared," O'Malley said in a statement. "Maryland's emergency response and preparedness agencies remain focused on monitoring this event, supporting local jurisdictions as needed, and ensuring all Marylanders are prepared and conduct themselves sensibly throughout this storm."
The District was distributing free sandbags to its residents, and Virginia Railway Express said passengers should be prepared to face delays due to flood restrictions.
The Maryland Transit Administration warned that trains on both the Camden and Brunswick Maryland Area Regional Commuter lines may operate under speed restrictions. The MTA also said that the Legion parking lot in Laurel would be closed Thursday and Friday due to anticipated flooding from the Patuxent River.
Stay tuned to the Dr. Gridlock blog for the latest on travel conditions on the roads, rails and at the airports. If you are aware of issues, please post a comment below, tweet @drgridlock or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, here are some resources to help you report problems.
-- BGE outages: 877-778-2222; wires: 800-685-0123; outage map
-- Dominion outages; downed wires: 866-366-4357; outage map
-- Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative outages; downed wires: 703-335-0500; outage reports
-- Pepco outages: 877-737-2662; downed wires: 202-872-343; outage map
-- Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
Downed trees and debris in roads
Anne Arundel County: After hours, 410-222-6120; northern district, 410-222-6120; central district, 410-222-7940; southern district; 410-222-7940; Annapolis; 410-263-7870.
Arlington County:703-228-6527; after hours, 703-558-2222.
Calvert County: 410-535-1600.
Charles County: 301-932-3450 or 301-870-2778.
The District: 311; clogged storm drains, 202-612-3400.
Fairfax County: 703-324-5033 (Public Works); 571-350-1000 (Emergency Management); 703-383-VDOT.
Howard County: 410-313-3440.
Loudoun County:703-777-0333 (Emergency Management); 703-383-VDOT.
Maryland state: 800-543-2515.
Montgomery County: 240-777-6000.
National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/state/dc/
Prince George's County: 301-499-8520; after hours, 301-499-8600.
Prince William County: 703-792-7070 or 703-383-VDOT.
Virginia State: 703-383-VDOT.
Posted by: WashingtonDame | March 9, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse
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