Arlington, VA

This week’s devastating flash floods may be evidence of a bigger weather pattern shift, some experts say.

The storm that pummeled the Arlington dumped 3.3 inches of rain in one hour Monday morning, breaking the regional record. Some experts say this is part of a larger pattern of wetter weather — and possibly climate change.

The so-called supercell developed in Frederick County, Virginia, where NWS Meteorologist Jason Elliott says cool, dry winds from the north met with warm, wet winds from the south. From there the storm — which was about the side of Montgomery County, Md. — travelled about 20 miles per hour towards southern Maryland.

Unfortunately for Arlington, the heaviest part of the storm travelled down the Potomac River — straight through Fairfax County, Arlington County, Alexandria and D.C. — overwhelming stormwater management systems and filling streets, homes, and businesses with water.

When a rainstorm hits, the runoff water not absorbed into the ground travels into the county’s stormwater pipes. However, too much water can fill the pipes, and flow out of manholes and storm drains.

“Water will then flow underneath of a road or a bridge and a stream will fill up and flow on top of a road or culvert,” said Aileen Winquist, Arlington’s Stormwater Management Program Manager. “That’s where damage can occur.”

Monday’s storm not only turned streams and streets into raging rapids, but also caused sewage backups in homes. Winquist said this is usually caused by water flooding sewer pipes and coming up through the floor drains in basements. It’s a problem residents in Westover and elsewhere face as they continue to recover from the flooding.

The county’s storm and sewer systems are overall in “good condition”, Winquist said, and crews continuing to repair corroded storm pipes and re-line old sewer pipes as needed.

“Typically the storm sewer system is designed for what’s known as a 10 year storm,” she added, referring the federal classification of a storm that has a 10% chance of occurring once every 10 years.

“It was easily raining 5 inches in an an hour, for half an hour,” said Elliot. “And nothing can handle something that heavy in that short a period of time.”

The county keeps a detailed map of every location in Arlington damaged in a flood and uses it prepare for future emergencies and prioritize routine repairs. Winquist declined to share a copy of the map, citing privacy concerns, but noted that Westover was not among the neighborhoods filled with water during Arlington’s last major flood back in 2006.

New flood plains can be caused by a variety of factors, such as problems with the storm water pipes or nearby development projects. But there’s also the issue of storms getting stronger and wetter.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) As Arlington continues to recover from Monday’s flash flooding, another Flash Flood Watch has been issued.

The National Weather Service says more heavy rain and flooding is possible today, in addition to storms and damaging winds. The watch takes effect starting at 2 p.m.

After numerous water rescues on Monday, forecasters are also reminding people to “turn around, don’t drown” when encountering water of unknown depth on the roads.

More from NWS:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT… SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. TORRENTIAL RAINFALL MAY LEAD TO TOTALS EXCEEDING 2 INCHES IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. THIS MAY CAUSE FLASH FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS AND OTHER POOR DRAINAGE URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

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Update at 5:25 p.m. — It’s “too early to tell” whether a disaster declaration will be made due to the extensive damage from today’s flooding, an Arlington County spokeswoman tells ARLnow.com.

Per Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management:

Arlington County continues to work with state and local partners to assess the damage from today’s storms. Detailed damage assessments, especially for roadways and bridges, will take additional time as crews continue to assess impacts. Arlington PSCEM is in contact with VDEM and FEMA Region III and working to assess what assistance, if any, is available to our residents from state and federal programs.

Update at 5:20 p.m. — Chain Bridge has reopened.

Update at 4:25 p.m. — In Westover, a portion of 18th Street N. is closed due to the roadway being damaged by flooding. In High View Park/Hall’s Hill, a portion of 20th Street N. is closed at N. George Mason Drive for road repairs.

Update at 3:45 p.m. — Today’s event was classified as an “extraordinarily dangerous” Flash Flood Emergency by the National Weather Service. An NWS official said it was the first Flash Flood Emergency for Arlington and D.C. since the agency started using the classification in 2011.

Canal Road NW in D.C., meanwhile, will remain closed between Chain Bridge and Foxhall Road during the afternoon rush hour, officials said.

Update at 3:30 p.m. — A number of businesses in Westover Village are closed following this morning’s flooding.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. — Video posted to social media shows major flooding this morning in the area of 33rd and 34th streets at N. Kensington Street, several blocks from Yorktown High School. At least one home was reported to have been evacuated while several homes were damaged by floodwaters that reached mid-way up a front door.

Another video posted to Twitter shows flooding in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.

Update at 3 p.m. — Flooding has prompted the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington to cancel all events and activities, the church said via Twitter.

The GW Parkway has reopened near the airport after it was closed due to flooding.

The Cherrydale Branch Library is closing early due to “power issues.” Dominion is currently reporting 434 customers without power in Arlington, mostly in and around Rosslyn.

Update at 2:15 p.m. — Arlington’s Solid Waste Bureau says it will help residents track down waste carts the floated away during this morning’s rain and flooding. 

Update at 1:05 p.m. — Video (below) shows flooding in the Westover Market and its attached, outdoor beer garden.

Update at 1 p.m. — “As flood conditions continue, please be safe and avoid standing and moving water,” writes Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol. “As the weather moves on, you can find more resources about cleanup, protection and water damage at https://emergency.arlingtonva.us

Meanwhile, WAMU is reporting extensive flooding in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood. And a Flood Warning has been issued for Arlington until 6 p.m., replacing the earlier Flash Flood Warning.

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a

* Flood Warning for… The City of Fairfax in northern Virginia… Arlington County in northern Virginia… The City of Falls Church in northern Virginia… Fairfax County in northern Virginia… The City of Alexandria in northern Virginia…

* Until 600 PM EDT.

* At 1252 PM EDT, reporting gauges indicate larger streams are still rising from the earlier torrential rain, and many road closures
are still being reported. Although the threat of rapid rise life threatening flooding is diminishing, some flooding is likely to continue for the rest of the afternoon. Therefore, this Flood

Warning replaces the Flash Flood Warning.

* Some locations that will experience flooding include… Arlington, Alexandria, Reston, Annandale, Springfield, Herndon, Fairfax, Fort Hunt, Vienna, Groveton, Falls Church, Huntington, Lowes Island, Mantua, Fort Belvoir, Pimmit Hills, McLean, American Legion Bridge, Reagan National Airport and Rosslyn.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. All interested parties should take necessary precautions immediately.

Update at 12:35 p.m. — Route 110 is being opened back up, per scanner traffic.

Video sent to ARLnow shows a parking lot at Marine Corps base Henderson Hall completely flooded. Also, videos posted to social media (below) shows raging waters along Four Mile Run creek near the Shirlington dog park and along N. Kirkwood Road at the height of the storm.

Update at 12:15 p.m. — “Crews continue to inspect storm drains for blockages but many lines remain over capacity because of stream water levels,” says Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

Update at 12:10 p.m. — Flooding along Lubber Run may have washed out a pedestrian bridge, per a social media post.

Also per social media, debris and floodwaters have blocked the Four Mile Run trail near Shirlington.

Update at 12 p.m. — In addition to flooded basements, high standing water has been reported in a number of parking garages — including the Ballston Quarter parking garage and a garage used by Arlington County Police.

Chain Bridge remains closed at N. Glebe Road, with traffic being diverted onto Chain Bridge Road. Citing broadcast media, the National Weather Service reports major flooding along Canal Road:

NUMEROUS VEHICLES SUBMERGED ON CANAL ROAD NW NEAR FLETCHERS COVE BOATHOUSE. DRIVERS STRANDED ON VEHICLE ROOF TOPS, SOME SWAM TO SAFETY, AND OTHERS WERE ESCORTED TO SAFETY BY DC FIRE AND EMS.

More rain looks to be on the way, but we should start drying out later this afternoon.

Video posted to social media, meanwhile, shows a significant roof leak in the Virginia Square Metro station.

Update at 11:35 a.m. — A trained spotter in the Westover neighborhood reports 4.5 inches of rainfall so far this morning, per the National Weather Service, while Reagan National Airport reports nearly 3.5 inches of rainfall.

Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center says it has received 600 calls since 8:40 a.m., including 25 water rescues in Arlington and 27 flooded buildings.

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect for Arlington through 1:45 p.m.

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It’s shaping up to be a wet Sunday night.

Arlington County and surrounding areas are under a Flash Flood Watch starting at 6 p.m. Slow-moving rainstorms are expected to drop copious amounts of precipitation on much of the region, particularly to the west of D.C.

The expected downpours follow the strong storms that ripped through Arlington yesterday, dumping torrential rain on much of the county and saturating the ground. That combination could result in flooding.

More from the National Weather Service:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING THROUGH LATE TONIGHT… SLOW MOVING SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TONIGHT. TORRENTIAL RAINFALL MAY LEAD TO TOTALS EXCEEDING 2 INCHES IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. THIS MAY CAUSE FLASH FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS AND OTHER POOR DRAINAGE URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

File photo

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Update at 9:40 p.m. — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to at least two reports of house fires caused by lightning strikes. The number of outages in Arlington reported by Dominion is now 966.

Update at 7:55 p.m. — Dominion is reporting 934 customers without power in Arlington County in the wake of the storms, which packed high winds and torrential rain. Portions of residential North Arlington appear to be the hardest hit.

Earlier: Arlington is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, as strong storms bear down on the county from the northwest.

More from the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… NORTHWESTERN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… * UNTIL 745 PM EDT. * AT 645 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER GREAT FALLS, OR OVER HERNDON, MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS. SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED. IMPACT…DAMAGING WINDS WILL CAUSE SOME TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES TO FALL. THIS COULD INJURE THOSE OUTDOORS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE HOMES AND VEHICLES. ROADWAYS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DOWNED TREES. LOCALIZED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. UNSECURED LIGHT OBJECTS MAY BECOME PROJECTILES. * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… ARLINGTON, ALEXANDRIA, GERMANTOWN, ROCKVILLE, BETHESDA, GAITHERSBURG, RESTON, OLNEY, COLLEGE PARK, GREENBELT, LANGLEY PARK, BELTSVILLE, VIENNA, FALLS CHURCH, CORAL HILLS, BLADENSBURG, PIMMIT HILLS, MCLEAN, AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE AND FORT TOTTEN. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING. && HAIL…<.75IN WIND…60MPH

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It’s going to be hot and humid today, and potentially hazardous for certain people, according to an air quality alert issued by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Children and adults with respiratory and heart ailments should limit their time outside today, MWCOG said in issuing a “Code Orange” alert for the region.

More details:

…AIR QUALITY ALERT IS IN EFFECT FOR THURSDAY JUNE 27 2019… THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, AND DISTRICT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT HAS ISSUED A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT THURSDAY FOR THE DC METRO AREA. A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT MEANS THAT AIR POLLUTION CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN THE REGION MAY BECOME UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDE CHILDREN, PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM ASTHMA, HEART DISEASE OR OTHER LUNG DISEASES AND THE ELDERLY. THE EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION CAN BE MINIMIZED BY AVOIDING STRENUOUS ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE OUTDOORS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GROUND-LEVEL OZONE AND FINE PARTICLES… VISIT WWW.CLEANAIRPARTNERS.NET.

More hot and potentially hazardous days are on tap, as a heat wave roasts the region for the foreseeable future.

Photo courtesy Philliefan99

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Arlington is again under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch tonight.

The watch, which goes until 10 p.m., is in addition to a separate Flash Flood Watch through 11 p.m.

Forecasters say severe storms with hail and high winds are possible today in parts of the D.C. area, including Arlington.

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Update at 4:25 p.m. — A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for Arlington through 11 p.m.

Update at 1:15 p.m. — The Flash Flood Watch for Arlington has been cancelled, but storms are still expected later today, according to the National Weather Service.

Earlier: Arlington County and surrounding areas are under a Flash Flood Watch starting at 2 p.m. today.

Forecasters say heavy rain and storms are expected this afternoon and evening, creating the potential for flash flooding.

More from the National Weather Service:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING… NUMEROUS TO WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND THIS EVENING IN A VERY WARM AND HUMID ENVIRONMENT. THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR SHOWERS TO MOVE REPEATEDLY OVER THE SAME AREAS AND TO PRODUCE INTENSE RAINFALL RATES IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME THAT MAY LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. THE GREATEST RISK OF FLASH FLOODING IS ACROSS NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MARYLAND. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

File photo

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Parts of Arlington are under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning through 5:30 p.m. due to an incoming line of storms.

The storms may pack damaging wind gusts, according to forecasters.

More from the National Weather Service:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
447 PM EDT THU JUN 13 2019

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… SOUTH CENTRAL LOUDOUN COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… WEST CENTRAL ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CENTRAL FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… EAST CENTRAL FAUQUIER COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF MANASSAS PARK IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHWESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF MANASSAS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…

* UNTIL 530 PM EDT.

* AT 447 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER LINTON HALL, OR 10 MILES EAST OF WARRENTON, MOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH.

HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED.

IMPACT…DAMAGING WINDS WILL CAUSE SOME TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES TO FALL. THIS COULD INJURE THOSE OUTDOORS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE HOMES AND VEHICLES. ROADWAYS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DOWNED TREES. LOCALIZED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. UNSECURED LIGHT OBJECTS MAY BECOME PROJECTILES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… CENTREVILLE, RESTON, ANNANDALE, SOUTH RIDING, HERNDON, FAIRFAX, VIENNA, FALLS CHURCH, MANTUA, PIMMIT HILLS, BURKE, LINTON HALL, OAKTON, CHANTILLY, LINCOLNIA, TYSONS CORNER, WOLF TRAP, GREAT FALLS, MERRIFIELD AND BULL RUN.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING.

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Arlington County and the entire region is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch Sunday afternoon and evening.

Storms packing damaging winds and large hail are heading toward the D.C. area from the west, with a cold front that’s expected to lower temperatures and humidity levels.

More from the National Weather Service:

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Watch for portions of District Of Columbia, Western and Central Maryland, Southeast Ohio, Northern Virginia, West Virginia, Coastal Waters

* Effective this Sunday afternoon and evening from 1255 PM until 800 PM EDT.

* Primary threats include… Scattered damaging wind gusts to 70 mph likely, Scattered large hail and isolated very large hail events to 2 inches in diameter possible

SUMMARY…Multiple rounds of thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon across the watch area, spreading eastward through the afternoon. The strongest cells in this region will pose a risk of damaging wind gusts and hail.

The severe thunderstorm watch area is approximately along and 70 statute miles north and south of a line from 35 miles west northwest of Charleston WV to 30 miles north northeast of Patuxent River MD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

REMEMBER…A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings. Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes.

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Update at 3:10 p.m. — Arlington is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. From the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING…

* UNTIL 400 PM EDT.

* AT 310 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER CENTREVILLE, MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

HAZARD…PING PONG BALL SIZE HAIL AND 60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED.

IMPACT…DAMAGING WINDS WILL CAUSE SOME TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES TO FALL. THIS COULD INJURE THOSE OUTDOORS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE HOMES AND VEHICLES. ROADWAYS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DOWNED TREES. LOCALIZED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. UNSECURED LIGHT OBJECTS MAY BECOME PROJECTILES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… ARLINGTON, ALEXANDRIA, CENTREVILLE, WALDORF, RESTON, ANNANDALE, CLINTON, SPRINGFIELD, SOUTH RIDING, FORT WASHINGTON, FAIRFAX, FORT HUNT, VIENNA, GROVETON, FALLS CHURCH, HUNTINGTON, CORAL HILLS, MANTUA, FORT BELVOIR AND PIMMIT HILLS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING.

Earlier: Arlington County and most of the D.C. area is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch.

Forecasters say storms with heavy rain, large hail, wind gusts up to 65 miles per hours and even isolated tornadoes are possible in the region this afternoon and evening.

More via social media:

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