More Arlington properties could be impacted by 100- and 500-year floods, according to new federal flood insurance rate maps.
The county estimates some 300 buildings, up from 172, now risk a 1% annual chance of being inundated by floods expected to happen once a century. Another 1,150 parcels, up from 1,054, face a 0.2% annual chance of floods that come around every half-millennia.
It identified the probable increase after comparing existing and new floodplain boundaries drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In 2020, FEMA proposed new floodplain boundaries and approved them this May, giving Arlington six months to adopt the changes or get booted from its program providing flood insurance to residents, according to a county report.
FEMA also declared emergency services, healthcare facilities and government records storage could no longer be located within 500-year floodplain boundaries, while accessory structures within 100-year floodplain boundaries have to be smaller than 600 square feet and only used for vehicle parking and storage.
Lastly, it created the option, which Arlington is taking, to require greater flood-proofing for the lowest level of structures in 100-year floodplains, also called high-hazard flooding areas. Building to these specifications helps property owners lower their flood insurance premiums, according to the county.
The impacts are “unavoidable,” per the report. The changes are slated to be adopted next month after a public hearing, which the Arlington County Board authorized over the weekend. The new maps, restrictions and building requirements go into effect Nov. 16.
Despite the increases it documented, the county emphasizes the number of affected properties is low.
Only 25% of buildings in a 500-year floodplain, or 150, are non-residential and stand to be potentially impacted by the use restrictions on emergency services, healthcare facilities and government records storage. Some 714 parcels are expected to be impacted by the restrictions on accessory structures.
The report attributes the few affected properties to a longstanding county policy to buy land in floodplains to “discourage unwise development.” Arlington prohibits construction within 15 feet of 100-year floodplain boundaries. FEMA also calls these zones special flood hazard areas and requires owners of property within them to get flood insurance.
“Overall, most parcels and structures within the County are actually not impacted by these new floodplain maps,” Stormwater Communications Manager Aileen Winquist told ARLnow. “Due to Arlington’s extremely forward thinking past policies, many flood prone properties were acquired for parkland.”
The county’s first stormwater plan, from 1957, recommended local government buy land within floodplains.
“Implementation of this recommendation was ahead of its time, and as a result, relatively few properties in Arlington are in the 100-year floodplain,” the county report says. “Instead of large-scale development in the floodplain, Arlington County has an extensive network of stream valley parks as a result of acquisition of stream valleys by the County.”
Crediting these that policy and the prohibition on new building close to flood zones, Arlington County says today, only 300 insurable structures now fall in FEMA’s new high-risk 100-year floodplain areas, comprising 0.6% of all structures in Arlington. Another 150 buildings are within 15 feet of the same boundaries.
The county contrasts itself with other jurisdictions that have relied more on flood-control infrastructure, such as levees, and disaster relief for flood victims.
“This approach did not reduce losses… and this strategy did not discourage unwise or risky development,” the report said. “In fact, it may have actually encouraged additional development in areas of high risk.”
This weekend, locals can stock up on virtually everything needed to batten down the hatches in the event of a natural disaster, or to go back to school, without paying Virginia sales tax.
Hurricane season, which will last through Nov. 30, is about to reach its peak, with 15-21 tropical systems potentially forming this year. People can get a host of hurricane readiness products sales tax-free through Sunday.
The tax exemption is part of Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday, when folks can buy certain emergency and school supplies, as well as energy-saving devices, sales tax-free. The holiday started this morning (Friday) and will last until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. People can save between 3.5-7% this weekend, according to a video about the holiday produced last year.
In addition to hurricanes, over the years, Arlingtonians have had to be prepared for massive floods, hurricanes, earthquakes big and small, and even tornadoes, as well as the local power outages caused by high winds and rainstorms over the last year.
The list of hurricane-preparedness essentials includes some larger items, if they’re less than $1,000:
- Portable generators and generator power cords
- Inverters and inverter power cables
- Photovoltaic devices that generate electricity
Gas-powered chain saws qualify if they’re less than $350, and chain saw accessories less than $60 are also exempt.
The list includes smaller items useful for most emergencies:
- First aid kits
- Storm shutter devices
- Batteries and chargers for cell phones and all batteries except those for cars and boats
- Portable, battery-operated or self-powered radios and light sources
- Bungee cords and rope
- Tie down kits
- Duct tape
- Gas or diesel fuel tanks
- Ice packs and reusable ice
- Water storage containers
- Non-electric food storage coolers
- Bottled water
- Manual can openers
Other home safety products include:
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguishers
With back to school around the corner, folks can buy anything from scissors, tape and glue to socks, shoes and uniforms, as well as hand sanitizing soap and disinfecting wipes. Other cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, such as masks, however, are exempt.
Energy Star or WaterSense products, such as toilets, faucets and refrigerators, are eligible of they cost less than $2,500 per item and are purchased for noncommercial home or personal use only.
County Announces ‘Health Equity’ Program — “Arlington County Government, Arlington Public Schools and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) are collaborating to increase access to COVID support services in communities disproportionately affected by the virus as part of the state’s Health Equity Pilot Program.” [Arlington County]
Group Calls for Removal of Police from APS — “Today, the Black Parents of Arlington, an advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of Black children in Arlington by securing equitable treatment in the realms of education, criminal justice, and access to opportunities and resources, formally called for the removal of School Resource Officers from all APS schools and facilities.” The local NAACP made a similar call for the removal of SROs earlier this summer. [Press Release]
Police Share Back to School Tips — “The Police Department typically marks the start of the academic year by reinforcing transportation safety tips to ensure that our roadways are safely shared with students heading back to school. With the shift to distance learning, we’re sharing tips to help students stay safe at home and online.” [Arlington County]
Ballston Tech Firm Acquires NYC Company — “Since last fall, celebrity-backed HUNGRY Marketplace Inc. has been using its technology to connect top local chefs with New York businesses looking for the best in catered meals. Now the company is deepening its Manhattan presence with the purchase of Ripe, the local corporate catering service that sees healthy office dining as a way to build better communities and foster new ideas among coworkers.” [New York Business Journal]
Disaster Preparedness Tips — “National Preparedness Month (NPM) each September promotes family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time to get involved.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Josh Folb
Changes Proposed for Rosslyn Development — “The Dittmar Co. is tinkering with it plans for the redevelopment of the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, shrinking the size of a planned hotel and adding more residential to account for Covid-19’s impact on the hospitality industry. The developer filed revised plans for the project with Arlington County earlier this month, outlining its new designs for a 326-room hotel and a 523-unit apartment building” [Washington Business Journal]
County Stats on Missing Middle Housing — “So, just how missing is this missing middle? 6%. That’s the percentage of Arlington’s 116,000 homes that the county estimates are townhomes, side-by-side duplexes, or stacked duplexes. If you count low-rise multifamily apartments as missing middle, the percentage increases to a little less than a third of the county’s current housing stock.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Mulch Available for Arlington Residents — “Free wood mulch for pickup is available for the first time since March. Get it while it’s hot. The stuff doesn’t grow on … nevermind.” [@ArlingtonDES/Twitter, Arlington County]
Lebanese Taverna Owners in Beirut — “Monday’s kitchen at full swing from @WCKitchen HQ’s over 11k meals between 9 total kitchens with amazing committed partners and volunteers! Thankful to @lebanesetaverna Abi-Najm family for showing up in person and supporting Beirut operation financially #ChefsForBeirut” [@chefjoseandres/Twitter]
Rep. Beyer’s GOP Challenger — “Jeff Jordan has his work cut out for him. The Republican supports President Donald Trump, and he’s running an uphill battle against Rep. Don Beyer for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District seat, which has remained solidly in Democratic hands for the last 30 years.” [ALXnow]
Hockey: W-L Defeats Yorktown — “It took nearly five months and some intricate planning. Then at last, the popular and annual all-Arlington ice hockey high-school club match between the Washington-Liberty Generals and Yorktown Patriots was played Aug. 1. The Generals won, 5-3, at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex. The season-ending rivalry match was originally scheduled for March 13, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” [InsideNova]
Online Home Lighting Discussion — Sponsored — “Olson Weaver Lighting Design & is hosting a Q & A session to answer lighting questions from designers/architects, contractors, & homeowners” on Friday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. [Eventbrite]
Ten members of the Arlington County Fire Department are in the Virginia Beach area today to assist with the response to Hurricane Dorian.
The firefighters and equipment — including ACFD’s water rescue unit — departed for Portsmouth, Va. Thursday afternoon. They are being joined by rescuers from Alexandria and the City of Fairfax as part of a 26-person hurricane relief team, organized by the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management, according to ACFD spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Marchegiani.
The team expects to stay in the area for at least three days.
Dorian is currently battering the Outer Banks of North Carolina as it slowly makes its way northeast. Besides clouds and some wind today, the D.C. area is not expected to feel the effects of the storm.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) September 5, 2019
Dorian will track NE from near the Outer Banks of NC this AM to offshore by this evening. A few rain bands will affect part of our region today, mainly southern MD. Breezy conditions will develop, w/ strongest winds in southern MD where a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect. pic.twitter.com/C3ffY1XQ7E
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) September 6, 2019
#Dorian has made landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 835 AM EDT. Maximum sustained winds were estimated near 90 mph (150 km/h), and the estimated minimum central pressure was 956 mb (28.23 inches). More: https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/IgOso4dvvs
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 6, 2019
(Updated at 10:15 p.m.) If you are someone whose home or business was damaged in the July 8 flooding, Arlington has launched a temporary Local Recovery Center (LRC) to help get your life back together.
The center helps connect residents with a variety of resources — like senior services or a table detailing what to do if you find mold in your home — but the main feature of the LRC is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which is offering flexible, low-interest loans for those impacted by the floods.
The LRC is located on the second floor of the Arlington County Trades Center (2700 S. Taylor Street). The Center is scheduled to operate for the next week:
- Today-Thursday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Monday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (SBA loan center only)
A similar center will operate in the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) in Fairfax County.
Locals who experienced flood damage in Arlington, Alexandria or Fairfax County may be eligible for SBA loans.
“Our qualifications are not as stringent [as a bank loan],” said Julie Garrett, a public affairs specialist for the SBA. “You must demonstrate that you can pay back the loan, but it’s very flexible.”
There are three categories of loans available:
- Business Physical Disaster Loans — These loans are for businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, like merchandise and machinery, though the loans are also available for non-profit organizations. Businesses of any size can apply.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans — These loans are aimed at helping small businesses or agricultural cooperatives make up for lost revenue from days that they were closed. Garrett said these can be especially important for mom-and-pop businesses that operate on monthly or quarterly cycles that may have difficulty paying their bills.
- Home Disaster Loans — These loans are for homeowners or renters to repair or replace flood-damaged homes or property, which can range from clothing to cars.
All applicants are required to have a credit history and must be able to show that they can repay all their loans. Garrett said there is no collateral required for loans under $25,000. If the loan is approved, Garrett said the applicants have 60 days to decide whether they want to accept it.
Many of those whose homes or businesses were impacted by flooding have already started work on repairing their property, and Garrett said loans can also be applied to damages paid for out-of-pocket. Those who have already paid to fix their damages are required to have receipts of their purchases and photos of the damage.
“We loan based on the amount of damage,” Garrett said. “Most insurance offers a depreciated value [for property], but we look at replacement value.”
The loans may also cover damages to fences, decks, garages, tree removal and property considered in the “immediate vicinity” of a house.
Aaron Miller, director of emergency management for Arlington County, said the County has received just over 1,000 reports of damages from people and businesses across Arlington. Garrett said only 26 individuals had applied for home disaster loans so far, but more are expected as people learn of and visit the LRC.
Applicants requesting a loan for physical damage are required to file by Oct. 7, while filings for economic injury have a deadline of May 7, 2020.
Meanwhile, Miller said the County is working through financing its own flood recovery — a process that could take months.
“We are continuing to go through assessments for public assistance,” Miller said. “That’s everything from emergency repairs to the longer recovery process.”
New Coworking Space Coming to Ballston — “Piedmont Office Realty Trust signed a 29K SF lease with WeWork at its Arlington Tower office building at 901 North Glebe Road in Ballston, the REIT said in its Q2 earnings release Wednesday evening. The coworking giant will take the entire fifth floor and plans to open before the end of the year, Piedmont Director Chris Poppell tells Bisnow.” [Bisnow]
Disaster Declaration May Be Coming Soon — “A disaster designation based on damage assessments in Arlington County would allow homeowners and businesses in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County to apply for low-interest federal loans beginning as soon as next week to help pay for repairs. Fairfax County Emergency Management Coordinator Seamus Mooney expects the designation to be approved within the next two weeks.” [WTOP]
Changes Proposed for Pentagon City Hotel — “The owner of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Crystal City is gearing up for a play to capitalize on the 627-room hotel’s proximity to Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters. Tom Baltimore, CEO of the hotel’s owner, Park Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: PK), told analysts on its second-quarter earnings call Thursday that the hotel is one of several the company is evaluating as possible redevelopment opportunities.” [Washington Business Journal]
Video: Dark Star Park Day — A timelapse video captured the moment on Thursday morning when the shadows lined up at Rosslyn’s Dark Star Park, as happens once a year on Aug. 1. [Twitter]
Arlington Boy Lives Dream in Boston — “There was a special visitor to the WBZ Weather Center on Thursday. Noah Coon from Arlington, Virginia is a big weather fan and stopped by the studio thanks to Dream On 3. Noah has cerebral palsy and was in Boston to visit the Red Sox. Because he’s also a fan of meteorology, he came to visit the WBZ weather team.” [WBZ]
Video: Yorktown vs. W-L — Just published online: “Long-lost footage of the famous Nov. 5, 1970, mud bowl football game between the Yorktown High School Patriots and the Washington-Lee Generals. Yorktown was favored with a 9-0 record but W-L won 12-0 and earned the Potomac District championship. [YouTube]
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Residents hit hard by floods across Arlington are worrying about how to pay the repair costs.
Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz declared a state of emergency two days after Monday’s flash floods wrecked homes and destroyed businesses. The County Board now needs to approve the emergency declaration, which could pave the way for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid.
For several residents in Westover, flood waters reached several feet high in their homes, destroying wood floors and appliances as well as cars and finished basements. Residents are still totaling the cost of the damages, but the majority said their homeowner’s insurance isn’t covering it — and most do not have flood insurance.
‘It happened very fast’
When ARLnow visited the Westover neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, mud still caked the pavement and friends and families were carrying out furniture to the county’s waiting trash truck.
“It happened very fast,” said neighbor Melinda Root. “I looked at my door and it was like looking at a weird aquarium.”
Root said at around 9 a.m. Monday, brown water rushed into the first floor of her house after rising outside, pouring up from the floorboards and in from the doors.
The inundation lasted about an hour, filling the basement to the ceiling and rising almost three feet on the first floor where it destroyed the carpet, kitchen appliances, as well as photographs and clothing. Outside, the water rose several feet high and flooded the engine of her car.
“The first thing I thought of was my cat,” Root said of her 13-year old friendly feline Chloe.
Root’s husband John DeMarce was at work when the storm hit, and was able to get Dominion Energy to cut the power to the house. When he arrived back in Westover, the floods had damaged thousands of dollars worth of tools in his woodworking shop in the basement and contaminated the carpet throughout the first floor.
“I’ve thrown away hundreds of books and CDs,” said DeMarce. Since then, he’s been ripping up the carpet himself and worries that the floor is now a mold risk, too.
He and his wife said they were very grateful to friends who are giving them a place to stay and are trying to clean 14 loads of laundry for them to save some of their clothes.
“We’re all in these same boat,’ said Root. “But that’s kind of a weird thing to say about a flood.”
Across the street, [Redacted], her husband [Redacted], and their friends were carrying away all her furniture to the curb after the water rose two feet inside her house and filled her basement.
Silt caked the hardwood floors in the first floor, and a light smell of sewage still pervades on Wednesday afternoon in the home even with the windows open and several fans running for days.
“It so much better than it was,” she said.
Burkett says she tried to come back to house Monday morning when she heard about the flooding but couldn’t drive through the river that filled her street.
“I stood right there up on that hill and watched as it happened,” she said of the top of the street.
The currents were so strong they lifted her shed and moved it almost two feet into her neighbor’s yard, half-crushing a floating chair that [Redacted] jokes is now “the wicked witch of the west Adirondack chair” or “Excalibur.” Her family’s car is also totaled. A group of friends set up a cleaning shop in the backyard to salvage some metal shelves from the house.
Now plastic lines the second floor staircase inside the house to where she’s stored the few pieces of furniture that survived. The plastic is held down with neat stacks of books that with waterlogged covers. Storm water ruined the rest of her furniture, most of her appliances — and her wedding album.
“Yeah. I’m kind of in shock,” said Burkett, who’s only owned the house for two years.
Like Root and DeMarce, Burkett also lost her HVAC system, hot water heater, washer and dryer, and car to the floods. Both sets of neighbors said their homes are uninhabitable right now.
And as for homeowners insurance? “We’re getting nothing,” Burkett said.
“There were produce boxes from Westover Market in peoples’ front yards,” said another neighbor, Nicole Bender. “The path of the river cut across several yards and broke through fences along the way.”
Bender hadn’t seen anyone form the county checking on the clean-up efforts until Wednesday morning. “I don’t think they realized the level of damage,” she said.
Carpet scraps and personal effects lined 14th Street N. in Westover — one of the hardest-hit areas of the county — and for Wayne Blankenship, that includes her 30-year collection of hundreds of signed vinyl records. He spread racks of records on bed slats in his front yard under the hot sun, but Blankenship isn’t sure they’re salvageable.
He’s also worried about the hardwood on the first floor, which is starting to buckle after flood waters rose 6 inches in the home and filled his finished basement in “thirty seconds.” The rise was so forceful it exploded an egress window in the basement, and ripped two basement doors in half.
The power stayed on even though the circuit breaker was underwater, and Blankenship says he’s grateful that he didn’t get electrocuted when wading through the water. He’s also thankful for friends who’ve given them a place to stay and helped rip out drywall in the basement.
“There is humanity,” he laughs. “It does exist.”
Blankenship bought pumps from Home Depot to help his neighbors clear out their own floodwater. Others banded together to buy wagons full of food for each other or loan a hand with ripping out drywall.
Blankenship has lived on the street for 23 years with his husband Maxwell Tourgersen, with whom he recently celebrated his 35 anniversary. Together the two recently spent $30,000 renovating their basement.
“We just got the house the way we wanted it!” Blankenship lamented.
He estimates it will cost at least that, plus $18,000 for a new water heater and furnace, to do it again. Upstairs, he thinks it will cost $26,000 just to repair the kitchen. Like Beckett, he didn’t have flood insurance and his homeowner’s insurance isn’t paying a dime.
“This is going to be all out of pocket,” he said.
‘Too Early to Tell’
The Arlington County Fire Department responded to at least 25 swift water rescue calls on Monday as commuters were trapped on roads turned to rivers. All told, the floods caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage to county-owned infrastructure alone. Private donations have also poured in for Westover businesses swamped with stormwater.
Amazon and Local Real Estate — “Amazon has yet to break ground in Northern Virginia for its second headquarters, but residents are already turning away persistent speculators, recalculating budgets for down payments on homes and fighting rent increases.” [New York Times]
Low Young Adult Home Ownership — “Arlington ties with Richmond for the lowest home-ownership rate among young adults in the commonwealth, according to a new analysis… only 16 percent of young adults living in Arlington were homeowners – perhaps not surprising given the cost of real estate in the county.” [InsideNova]
HQ2 Helps Va. Rank as Top State for Business — “CNBC has named Virginia America’s ‘Top State for Business’ in 2019. CNBC unveiled Virginia as the top state for business [Wednesday] morning during a live broadcast from Shenandoah River State Park, and Governor Northam was on location to discuss the announcement.” [CNBC, Gov. Ralph Northam, Twitter, Arlington Economic Development, Washington Business Journal]
Amazon Information Meeting — Officials from Amazon and Arlington County discussed the company’s HQ2 plan and its approval process at a public meeting near Shirlington last night. [Twitter]
More on 5G in Arlington — “Arlington is preparing its commercial corridors for the next generation of mobile broadband technology — 5G. The impact? Mobile download speeds for movies, video games, apps and more up to 100 times faster than today.” [Arlington County]
County Seeking Volunteers for Disaster Drill — “The County is seeking volunteers to participate in Capital Fortitude, a full-scale emergency exercise designed to evaluate the National Capital Region’s ability to dispense medication quickly in response to an anthrax attack. From 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 19, Arlington will join 24 jurisdictions around the region in hosting a Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise.” [Arlington County]
Flood-Damaged Road Reopening — “Update [on] July 10… Crews expect to have one lane of 18th St N between N Lexington St and N McKinley Road reopen to traffic this evening. Repairs to the other lane set for completion tomorrow. 20th St N at George Mason is [reopened] with minor repairs still pending.” [Twitter]
Update at 11:20 a.m. — Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau has issued the following statement about trash collection in the wake of Monday’s flooding. In it, the county apologizes for notices of “improper trash preparation” issued to flood-impacted residents “during this difficult time.”
The County continues to take special measures to assist residential curbside customers in trash collection efforts following this week’s damaging storm. We have identified areas that experienced extensive flooding and will have additional County trash collection trucks sent out daily to monitor these areas and collect items set on the curb. This will continue through Saturday, July 21 and will be extended if necessary. The County will also continue to monitor other areas and expand this service if necessary.
Trash collection by the County contractor will continue as scheduled throughout the week of July 8. If storm damage debris set out for bulk item collection isn’t picked up the day of your regular trash collection, it may take an additional 1-2 days for service given the extent of the event. You can also call the Customer Contact Call Center at 703-228-6570 to schedule a special pickup.
Some residents may have received an orange notice of improper trash preparation. We apologize if you received one during this difficult time. These are routinely issued by the County contractor to help residents properly prepare materials to allow for efficient and timely pickups and to ensure the safety of the crews.
For residential customers with storm-related debris, trash should be properly prepared for pickup on your designated collection day. For large and/or bulk household items, please follow these guidelines.
If residents have any questions, contact the Customer Contact Call Center at 703-228-6570 or learn more about residential services at recycling.arlingtonva.us/residential. Check out the online Where Does it Go? directory to learn how to properly dispose of specific types of items.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Earlier: Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has declared a state of emergency in Arlington following Monday’s historic flash flooding.
The declaration, which is set to be formalized by the County Board on Saturday, is a first step to obtaining disaster relief funding for residents and businesses affected by the flash flood emergency. Across the county, cars were destroyed, homes were flooded and businesses inundated.
In a press release, below, the county says volunteers have been going door-to-door to conduct damage assessments, but residents and business owners are also encouraged to submit damage reports online.
County Manager Mark Schwartz signed a Declaration of Local Emergency for Arlington County, effective 8:30 a.m. on July 8, 2019, in response to the Flash Flood Emergency that saw torrential rain, dangerous public safety conditions and damage to private and public facilities.
“Following record setting rainfall and flash flooding on Monday, initial damage assessments have clearly shown the impact to residents and businesses in our community,” said Aaron Miller, Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management (PSCEM). “This emergency declaration is a key step in activating recovery assistance for our community. We continue to work closely with state and regional partners, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, on the process of determining our community’s eligibility for disaster assistance.”
The County Board will vote to formalize the emergency declaration at Saturday’s Regular Board Meeting, a step that positions the County to request reimbursement for storm-related costs through Virginia to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The emergency state remains in effect until rescinded. More information on how individuals and businesses might benefit from this designation will be detailed in a soon-to-come Declaration of Local Emergency FAQ.
As Arlington continues to work with state and local partners to assess damage, the County is asking those affected by Monday’s storm to submit a Damage Report form by Friday, July 12. While owners are responsible for repairs on their property, the County could use this data to pursue disaster aid, to the extent it is available.
Volunteers from the Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and Team Rubicon have been trained and mobilized to go door-to-door to assist with damage assessments in the County.
In the meantime, those with immediate needs are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or call the local American Red Cross. Only dial 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency.
Photo courtesy Nicole Bender
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Arlington officials estimate that Monday’s flash flooding caused $3.5 million in damage to county infrastructure, particularly bridges in local parks.
As of last night, the an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman said the department was aware of “at least six pedestrian bridges adjacent to the Four Mile Run stream and one storage building at Bon Air Park” which have been washed away.
Restrooms, playgrounds and picnic tables along local streams also sustained damage and “a few community centers experienced minor to moderate flooding,” though the community centers all remained open with “no major operational impacts,” we’re told.
The parks department damage assessment was updated Tuesday late afternoon to include the following:
- Six pedestrian bridges adjacent to the Four Mile Run stream — one at Bon Air Park, two at Lubber Run Park, two at Glencarlyn Park and one at Gulf Branch Nature Center — were destroyed. Additionally, a bridge near the Glencarlyn Dog Park and one at Holmberg Park were damaged
- The following picnic shelters are closed through Friday (July 12): Bluemont Park, Bon Air Park, Glencarlyn Park
- Playgrounds at numerous parks lost safety surface in the flooding; as a result, Glencarlyn Park playground remains closed until further notice
- A storage building at Bon Air Park was destroyed
- James Hunter Dog Park [near Shirlington] experienced flooding and DPR is evaluating the fountain
- The County’s Trails saw debris and dirt; Four Mile Run Trail suffered some asphalt damage
“The Department of Parks and Recreation is working to make our areas safe and operational as soon as possible after Arlington’s parks saw considerable damage on Monday,” said spokeswoman Martha Holland. “DPR is still working on gathering damage assessments from the storm, and some facilities may be closed as cleaning and repairs begin.”
Photos and video also shows damage along Lubber Run, near the amphitheater. A torrent of muddy water can be seen rushing through the park; pedestrian bridges were washed away, though the amphitheater itself was spared.
— Brandon J⭕️nes (@btj) July 8, 2019
Foot bridges along even tiny babbling brooks were no match for raging floodwaters. One such wooden bridge connecting Chesterbrook Road and N. Vermont Street in the Old Glebe neighborhood was washed off its foundation and blocked off by caution tape this morning.
A couple of Arlington libraries were also impacted.
“The auditorium at Central Library sustained water damage and all programs are canceled this week,” Arlington Public Library spokesman Henrik Sundqvist told ARLnow. “Central Library opened up on schedule today.”
“Cherrydale Branch Library closed early yesterday due to flooding and power outages,” Sundqvist added. “We expect to open on time today.”
Arlington County has closed two roads that suffered damage to the road surface as a result of the flooding: until repairs can be made, 18th Street N. is closed between N. Lexington and McKinley streets, while 20th Street N. is closed at George Mason Drive.
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 8, 2019
Due to surface damage from today's flooding in Westover, 18th Street North is closed for repairs between North Lexington Street and North McKinley Road. #vatraffic https://t.co/AR4VZCOl2E pic.twitter.com/K2wlcs7NCl
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 8, 2019
“There’s no other significant damage to facilities at this time, but assessments are ongoing,” said county spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith.