Flood warnings, high water on roads as more storms affect DC region

Date: 2021-09-23 05:12:22

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning until 7:15 a.m. for Northeastern Frederick County in north central Maryland. Between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of rain have fallen.

Heavy rain is leading to a treacherous morning commute across the D.C. region, with high-standing water reported on major highways including Interstate 66 and water rescues in Frederick and Montgomery counties.

Just before daybreak, WTOP Traffic Reporter Ian Crawford described floodwaters on stretches of I-66 in Centreville and Arlington as “like a fishing pond, you might as well stock it with trout.”

After rounds of rain on the first day of fall battered the region Wednesday, with heavy rain causing power outages and dozens of wrecks, early morning storms are dumping more water over saturated ground. Forecasters continue to warn of rapid water rises along flood-prone roadways and near small streams, with rain rates in some storms nearing 2 inches per hour.

“There have been numerous flood warnings issued, so use extreme caution and good judgement during the morning commute, Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said. “Avoid high water at all costs or it could cost you your car … or worse.”

Closings and delays:
  • Frederick County Public Schools are closed Thursday. All extracurricular activities are canceled or postponed.
  • Carroll County Public Schools will open on a 2-hour delay.
Watches and warnings:
  • Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for parts of Northern Virginia, much of Maryland and D.C. until 2 p.m. Thursday. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Flood Warning in effect until 2 p.m. for parts of Fairfax, Arlington and Montgomery counties, as well as Alexandria and the District. Flooding is occurring in poor drainage urban areas and near small streams such as Difficult Run and Rock Creek.
  • Coastal Flood Warning is in effect for the Anne Arundel County shoreline until noon. One to two feet of inundation are possible in low-lying coastal areas during high tide, including the Naval Academy campus, businesses on Dock Street and the City Dock parking lot in Annapolis.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein on ‘lousy’ road conditions in Northern Virginia

Most of the D.C. region will continue to see rain throughout the morning, adding to already wet conditions on the roads during Thursday morning commute.

As of 7 a.m. various lanes of I-66 were blocked by high water between Exit 53 and Exit 55 in Centreville. In the District, the ramp from 7th Street SW to the eastbound I-395/Southwest Freeway was closed.

Flooding also closed Md. Route 355 in both directions near Urbana; Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said crews helped a driver from a vehicle stalled in high water at Connecticut Avenue and Beach Drive.

“We all know places that flood whenever it rains, but this morning I was surprised by ponding at several low-lying locations,” WTOP’s Neal Augenstein reported on a drive through Fairfax County. “You’ll probably want to build in some extra time when you leave your house this morning.”

For the latest road and traffic conditions, see WTOP’s traffic page or listen to updates every 10 minutes online or on the air at 103.5 FM. Submit traffic tips by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.

The worst of today’s weather will come before noon, Bell said, with waves of heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms. Over two inches of rain fell on much of the immediate D.C. region overnight, with significant street flooding already reported in higher elevations of Maryland.

A line of heavy rain will move into the Interstate 95 corridor in the hours around and after daybreak Thursday. Hourly rainfall rates of between 1 and 2 inches are expected in these bands, and water is likely to pool quickly on any areas they pass over.

Damaging wind gusts and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out in stronger thunderstorms, especially in central and northern Maryland.

Rain tapers off before noon for most with the focus moving to the Chesapeake and Delmarva. Lingering showers will still be possible into the afternoon and evening, but the overall trend will be a drying on as the day goes on, Bell added.

Friday morning will be a chilly, fall-like one, with temperatures in downtown D.C. dropping into the mid 40s to low 50s and humidity lowering.


Thursday morning: Heavy rain with thunder early. Showers ending by sunset. Highs in the mid 60s to low 70s

Thursday evening: Damp with overnight clearing. Lows in the upper 40s to mid 50s.

Friday: Sunny and fresh breeze. Lower humidity. Highs in the 70s.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. Low humidity with a light breeze. Highs in the mid 70s.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with low humidity. Highs in the 70s.

Current conditions:

Power outages:


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