Heavy downpour triggers commute nightmare in D.C.

Commuters in the D.C., and Baltimore area faced an extremely difficult and dangerous drive back to work on Monday morning following the long holiday weekend as heavy downpours flooded local roadways.

Videos have surfaced on social media in which the raging floodwaters turned roads into rivers. One social media user captured a video while driving through high floodwaters in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel on Monday morning and said, "You’re going to need a boat to pass underneath the Virginia Ave. underpass on I-66 in NW D.C."

Several water rescues were performed as high waters overflowed the roads. Local officials urged motorists to stay off the roads on Monday morning due to flash floods. Numerous roads in downtown Washington, D.C., as well as surrounding areas, were closed on Monday morning due to the heavy floodwater.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, told local news station WTOP that “all our folks are deployed right now” at about 8:30 a.m. He said “the storm drains are overwhelmed.”

Deep tropical moisture across the mid-Atlantic states has supported areas of slow-moving heavy rain over parts of Maryland and northern Virginia on Monday morning, said AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido.

"So far this [Monday] morning, the heaviest rain targeted portions of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll County and prompted the National Weather Service to issues multiple flash flood warnings," Vido said.

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Flash flooding in Washington D.C. 7/8
Flood debris from the rain storm is seen on Canal Road on July 8, 2019 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A park bench sits under water in East Potomac Park in Washington, DC on July 8, 2019, after a storm caused flooding. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 8: DC Fire and police respond to excessive steam and standing water due to heavy rain on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in front the Newseum and the Canadian Embassy on Monday, July 08, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 02: A walkway at the Tidal Basin leads to a flooded sidewalk from the rising high tide on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Tidal Basins crumbling seawall and sidewalks are routinely under water due to the rising sea levels high tides and threatening some Cherry Blossom Trees. The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced last spring that it will partner with the National Park Service to update the infrastructure around the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A park bench sits under water in East Potomac Park in Washington, DC on July 8, 2019, after a storm caused flooding. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Flooding is seen in the basement of the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, on July 8, 2019, as widespread dangerous flash flooding was occurring throughout the DC metro area, including in downtown Washington DC. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 02: Cherry Blossom trees are partially submerged near a flooded sidewalk from the rising high tide on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Tidal Basins crumbling seawall and sidewalks are routinely underwater due to the rising sea levels high tides and threatening some Cherry Blossom Trees. The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced last spring that it will partner with the National Park Service to update the infrastructure around the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Much of D.C., Arlington, Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties received 2 to 4 inches of rain, with many areas picking up those amounts in only 1 or 2 hours. Radar estimates close to Frederick, Maryland, indicate rainfall totals over 4 inches. This heavy rainfall prompted street flooding, collapsed trees and water rescues.

In Arlington, Virginia, 3.3 inches of rain fell over the course of an hour at Reagan National Airport early Monday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. That's nearly a month's worth of rain, as the normal monthly total is 3.7 inches.

The heavy rain also flooded the runway at Frederick Municipal Airport, covering the wheels of some aircraft. At the White House, the rain started to flood the basement. Meanwhile, the second flood entrance of the Pentagon "leaks" on Monday morning, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports. The flooding captured in Starr's photo is from rain coming in from the fifth floor ceiling and is also bubbling up from the Potomac River below.

A large sinkhole was reported on Belfast Road in Potomac, Maryland. WUSA9 News Anchor Annie Yu reported that her friend’s mother drove right up to it and needed to stop several other cars from driving over it.

Another sinkhole appeared under a home in Potomac. The backyard collapsed into the basement, and the home is now in danger of collapsing, reports WJLA-TV News Reporter Sam Sweeney.

Amtrak stopped all trains south of D.C.'s Union Station due to the poor weather conditions and high water on tracks. The Metrobus in Washington, D.C., is experiencing delays in both directions due to high standing water at the entrance of McLean Metrorail Station. Videos shared on social media capture water pouring down from the ceiling into the Virginia Square Station in Arlington, leading to single-tracking at the station.

"The threat for heavy rain and flash flooding will continue for the next few hours before rainfall gradually moves off to the south this [Monday] afternoon," Vido said.

 

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