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Impacts of Tropical Storm Andrea Felt in Arlington

Rainy Reflections (photo by Katie Pyzyk)Arlington has been feeling the impacts of Tropical Storm Andrea today.

The storm has been dumping rain on the region all day, and even heavier rains and stronger wind gusts are expected during the evening commute.

Tonight’s outdoor showing of “Risky Business” in Rosslyn has been cancelled due to the weather. Meanwhile, the soaking rains and wind might be responsible for knocking down power lines along N. Pershing Drive in the Ashton Heights area. Pershing is currently closed between Lincoln and Monroe Streets while police and firefighters wait for Dominion Power crews to repair the lines.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning drivers to be careful on the roads tonight, especially during periods of heavier rain.

“Tropical Storm Andrea passes through the Washington Metro area today and will continue north along the I-95 corridor,” the organization said in a press release. “Motorists will face hazardous driving conditions during the evening commute due to heavy winds, torrential rains, and flooding… The auto club is advising motorists to exercise caution if they must take to the roads during the squally driving conditions.”

AAA issued the following list of wet weather driving tips.

  • Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits two to three seconds for stopping; that should be increased to eight seconds on slippery roads. Train your eyes farther down the road than normal, so you can anticipate changes and adjust your course gradually.
  • Do not attempt to drive through standing water. Try to avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood. Cross them only if there is little standing or streaming water. When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, and could put your life, and the lives of those around you, at great risk. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination.
  • Watch out for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Just because brakes work under normal conditions doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with far less traction.
  • Alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing with your brake lights. Without anti-lock brakes, squeeze the brakes until they are about to lock up and then release. With anti-lock brakes, use the same move – but don’t pump the brakes, which would work against the operation of the ABS system. Slow down as you approach a pothole. However, do not brake when your vehicle is directly over a pothole.
  • Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
  • Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility. Remember many states legally require drivers to use their headlights during inclement weather. In our neck of the woods Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have wipers on, lights on laws, according to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws.
  • Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
  • Do not drive around barricades. Many lives have been lost when drivers disregard official orders and find themselves trapped in rising waters.
  • Turn off the cruise control in wet weather driving. The use of cruise control on wet roads can cause hydroplaning.
  • If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit and find a safe location. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge where you may feel less anxiety. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
  • Fumes and oil leaks that build up on dry pavement rise to the surface of the road when it rains, making the road far slicker than it may seem.

Arlington is currently under a Flash Flood Watch.

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