Arlington, VA

Arlington County and much of the D.C. region is now under a Flash Flood Watch.

The watch is in effect until 10 a.m. Sunday. Forecasters say multiple rounds of heavy rain and storms could produce flash flooding.

More from the National Weather Service:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING… WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY MORNING. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS EXPECTED. AVERAGE RAINFALL AMOUNTS WILL BE BETWEEN 1 AND 3 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS AROUND 4 INCHES POSSIBLE. * HEAVY RAINFALL IN SHORT PERIODS OF TIME MAY CAUSE CREEKS AND STREAMS TO RAPIDLY RISE OUT OF THEIR BANKS ALONG WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR FLASH FLOODING IN 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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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) Arlington and the D.C. region is now under a Tornado Watch.

The watch is in effect until midnight tonight. Forecasters say the storms approaching the area may spawn isolated tornadoes.

The region is also under a Flash Flood Watch, with heavy rain expected this afternoon and evening. The expected stormy weather has prompted airlines to allow travelers at Reagan National Airport to change their flights without additional fees.

More from the National Weather Service:

MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. SOME OF THE STORMS WILL LIKELY BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND ISOLATED TORNADOES.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY THROUGH MOST OF TONIGHT FOR THE ENTIRE OUTLOOK AREA.

GALE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE WATERS TONIGHT.

With flooding and power outages possible, Arlington County Police are reminding motorists to take extra precautions on the roads.

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The groundwater level in Arlington is rising, officials say, which could cause more flooded homes and mosquito-filled backyards.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says current groundwater levels are an average of 5 feet higher than they were during the past two years. Officials say one reason is last year’s 60-inch rainfall, which broke the 1889 record for the region’s rainiest year ever recorded.

“The potential for flooding, especially localized flooding, is affected with the ground being more saturated,” said DES’s Stormwater Outreach Specialist Lily Whitesell.

Whitesell explained that the “void” in soil which usually absorbs water is now filled with water. This mean water can’t be as easily absorbed and it’s more likely to cause runoff and flooding.

The likelihood of flooding will be highest when storms dump an inch or more of rain on the area, she said.

In addition to floods, Whitesell said residents can also expect:

  • Softer, muddier ground in general
  • More mosquitos as water “ponds” in backyards,
  • Algae potentially growing on sidewalks and in gutters
  • More sump pump discharge
  • Plants that prefer drier weather to suffer

“Water ponding next to your foundation is not something that you want for the long-term structural safety of a home,” said Whitesell. “And certainly if you have a basement nobody wants water getting in there.”

She clarified that rising groundwater levels do not affect floodplain boundaries, which are drawn based on severe, “100-year” floods. However, the DES website notes that county waterways can be hit hard by stormwater runoff which causes:

  • Erosion: The high volume of water erodes stream banks, compromising trails and trees along our stream valley parks.
  • Pollutants: Stormwater washes pollutants like nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), sediment, bacteria, petroleum, pet waste and trash into our streams, causing poor water quality.
  • Temperature: During the summer months, stormwater heats up as it flows over hot pavement, which then increases the temperature of the stream water by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, causing stress or death to aquatic organisms.

Rising groundwater levels can also affect the underground vaults that protect controls for utilities like electricity, gas and telephone lines, Whitesell said. When these gather moisture or flood it can pose a risk to equipment and workers as NIOSH has reported.

“Some vaults are very shallow and so may not be affected,” said Whitesell. “But some are deep enough to be affected.”

When asked, Whitesell said the swell of rainstorms could be a symptom of climate change: “One of the effects we expect with global warming and climate change is that wet areas get wetter and dry areas get drier.”

In Arlington, Whitesell said the number of applications to the county’s Stormwater Wise Program that helps homeowners reduce stormwater run-off has doubled over the last year.

“We’re all hoping for a drier year,” she said.

In the meantime, DES recommends residents flood-proof their homes as much as possible and check whether they’re eligible for flood insurance. But in case all else fails the department suggests residents take the following precautions:

  • Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house, in the event of flooding.
  • Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
  • Make a household inventory of belongings, especially the contents in the basement.
  • Keep important documents and medicine in a water proof container in a safe place.
  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off — medications, pet supplies, batteries.
  • If your home needs a sump pump, get a battery backup in case the power goes out. Check on the pump regularly, especially if it’s more than eight years old.
  • Read more tips for Preparing for Storms.
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Arlington County and surrounding areas are under both a Flood Watch and a Wind Advisory Thursday, as a front brings heavy rain and strong winds to the region.

About 1-2 inches of rain is expected to fall, potentially causing flooding in low-lying areas and along streams and creeks.

More from the National Weather Service:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT… * FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON * RAIN WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA THIS EVENING AND OVERNIGHT. THE HEAVIEST RAIN IS EXPECTED OVERNIGHT AND THURSDAY MORNING. TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS AROUND 1 INCH ARE EXPECTED, WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS OF 1.5 TO 2 INCHES POSSIBLE. * EXCESS RUNOFF FROM A NEARLY FROZEN GROUND AND SATURATED SOILS WILL CAUSE THE POTENTIAL FOR STREAMS AND CREEKS TO RISE OUT OF THEIR BANKS AS WELL AS POTENTIAL FLOODING IN LOW LYING URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. &&

In addition to the rain, damaging winds are possible.

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO NOON EST THURSDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO NOON EST THURSDAY. * TIMING…THURSDAY MORNING. * WINDS…SOUTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH. * IMPACTS…GUSTY WINDS WILL BLOW AROUND UNSECURED OBJECTS. TREE LIMBS COULD BE BLOWN DOWN AND A FEW POWER OUTAGES MAY RESULT. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. &&

More via social media:

Photo (top) via National Weather Service

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Morning Notes

Flood Watch in Effect — Expect periods of rain today. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for much of the region through late tonight. “Excessive runoff from already saturated soils will cause the potential for streams and creeks to rise out of their banks as well as flooding in low lying urban areas,” forecasters say. [Weather.gov, Twitter]

Arlington Doesn’t Want to Pick Fight Over J-D Hwy — “The Arlington County government’s efforts to rename its portion of Jefferson Davis Highway could face familiar legislative roadblocks in 2019. But County Board members say they have no interest in forcing a confrontation with the General Assembly on the matter.” [InsideNova]

New Year’s Meeting Scheduled for Jan. 2 — Next week, what used to be a New Year’s Day organizational meeting for the Arlington County Board will again be held on Jan. 2 instead. The Board will elect a new Chair and Vice Chair at the meeting. [Arlington County]

Developer Buys Wilson Blvd Property — “The Meridian Group has picked up its next value-add Arlington County office building as it… closed Wednesday on its acquisition of 2500 Wilson Blvd. and several adjacent parcels from an affiliate of TH Real Estate for a consideration amount of nearly $39 million, or roughly $373 per square foot, according to Arlington County land records.” [Washington Business Journal]

Dulles Toll Road Rates Rising — “Starting Jan. 1, prices are scheduled to go up for those driving on the Dulles Toll Road. The cost to passenger vehicles will increase from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps.” [Tysons Reporter]

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Morning Notes

Christmas Closures in Arlington — “Arlington County Government offices, courts and libraries will be closed on Mon., Dec. 24 and Tue., Dec. 25, 2018, for Christmas and on Tue., Jan. 1, 2019, for New Year’s Day. Courts will also be closed on Dec. 31, 2018, and libraries will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.” [Arlington County]

Low-Income Workers Finding Metro Alternatives — “As Metro fares have risen, hours for train service have been cut and gentrification has made it more difficult for low-income workers to live near rail stations, workers making lower wages in Washington and in Arlington have become less likely to commute by transit… down 5 percent from the previous five years.” [Washington Post]

Arlington, Alexandria Firefighters Learning Yoga — “It’s a revolutionary training course helping firefighters cope [with] stress & sleep deprivation. One firefighter who was at the Pentagon on 9/11 says it helps him deal [with] the memory of that day.” [NBC Washington, Twitter]

Rain, Flood Watch Continues — “The Flood Watch continues through this afternoon. Unseasonably warm today with showers and perhaps an isolated afternoon/evening thunderstorm.” [Twitter]

Holiday Wrapping Paper Alternatives — Local designer Beth Singer, whose firm designed the ARLnow logo, has penned a new blog post just in time for the holidays: “Five Reasons I Will Never Buy Wrapping Paper Again.” [Beth Singer Design]

Eclectic Estate Sale Near Clarendon — “Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person? Are you a collector of unusual paintings, furniture, or sculpture? A curious browser of all things uncommon and quirky? You won’t want to miss this special estate sale, this weekend in Ashton Heights.” [Team Cathell]

Nearby: Amazon’s Effect on Chirilagua — “Between Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood and the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington is a swath of land home to a vibrant Hispanic community… For many Chirilagua residents, Amazon’s arrival threatens the end of the community they love, bringing increased housing costs, new residents and creeping gentrification.” [NBC Washington]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Arlington County will be under a Flood Watch and nearby bodies of water under a Gale Warning starting Thursday evening.

Heavy rain is expected to fall between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, while strong, gusty winds may fell trees and pose a danger to boaters Thursday night into Friday morning.

More from the National Weather Service:

FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON… FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON * WIDESPREAD RAIN IS EXPECTED THURSDAY NIGHT AND SHOWERS ARE LIKELY FRIDAY. RAINFALL AMOUNTS AROUND 1-2 INCHES ARE MOST LIKELY, BUT LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS AROUND 3-4 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE. SOILS REMAIN SATURATED DUE TO RECENT RAINFALL, SO EXCESS RUNOFF FROM THE RAIN WILL CAUSE THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS, CREEKS, AND URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. &&

…SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM TO 8 PM EST THURSDAY… …GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THURSDAY TO 6 AM EST FRIDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A GALE WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THURSDAY TO 6 AM EST FRIDAY. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY HAS ALSO BEEN ISSUED. THIS SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM TO 8 PM EST THURSDAY. * WINDS…34 TO 47 KNOTS WITHIN THE GALE WARNING. * WINDS…18 TO 33 KNOTS WITHIN THE SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A GALE WARNING MEANS WINDS OF 34 TO 47 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. OPERATING A VESSEL IN GALE CONDITIONS REQUIRES EXPERIENCE AND A PROPERLY EQUIPPED VESSEL. RECREATIONAL BOATERS SHOULD SEEK SAFE HARBOR PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF GALE CONDITIONS. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY MEANS WINDS OF 18 TO 33 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. BOATERS OPERATING SMALLER VESSELS SHOULD AVOID NAVIGATING IN THESE CONDITIONS. &&

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Morning Notes

Arlington Employee Inspires New Child Care Policy — Lanette Johnson, an employee at the Pentagon City Best Buy store, is “the inspiration behind Best Buy’s new backup child-care benefit for all full-time and part-time employees. Workers at nearly 1,000 U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters have access to 10 days of subsidized care each year through a Best Buy partnership with Care.com.” [Washington Post]

Weekend Rain Drenched Arlington — Arlington was among the parts of the region to see the most rainfall over the weekend. [Twitter]

Small Business Lender Active in Arlington Courts — “On Deck Capital Inc., a publicly traded online small business lender based in New York… which also has Arlington office space… accounted for 7 percent of all [small business] debt collection cases brought to that Arlington County courthouse through September.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Leadership for Arlington NAACP — “The Arlington branch of the NAACP will enter 2019 with a new leadership structure and a commitment to building on recent growth. ‘I’m all about community activism – we will go out and do good things,’ said Julius Spain Sr., who on Dec. 17 was sworn in to serve as president of the 78-year-old local civil-rights organization.” [InsideNova]

Arlington GOP Chief Steps Down — “The Arlington County Republican Committee will enter 2019 on a hunt for prospective candidates – and a hunt for a new chairman, too. Jim Presswood, who has chaired the GOP for nearly three years, announced recently he would be stepping down halfway through his second two-year term due to commitments at work.” [InsideNova, Facebook]

Photo courtesy Crystal Comiskey

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The Arlington County Fire Department is urging residents to “turn around, don’t drown” when encountering a flooded roadway.

A Flood Warning is in effect for Arlington County until 1:30 a.m. as rain continues to fall. More from the National Weather Service:

…A FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 130 AM EST FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…MONTGOMERY…CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGES… NORTHEASTERN LOUDOUN…ARLINGTON…AND NORTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTIES…THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH AND THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA… AT 735 PM EST, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS REPORTED AREAS OF FLOODING ACROSS THE AREA. BRIGHTON DAM ROAD NEAR THE HOWARD COUNTY/MONTGOMERY COUNTY LINE WITHIN THE PATUXENT RIVER WATERSHED HAS WATER FLOWING ACROSS THE ROADWAY, NECESSITATING A WATER RESCUE. ADDITIONAL CLOSED ROADS ARE BEING REPORTED IN GLENN DALE IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MD, AND NEAR PHILOMONT ALONG LIME KILN ROAD IN LOUDOUN COUNTY VA. MOTORISTS USING ROCK CREEK PARKWAY FROM SOUTHERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY INTO NORTHWEST DC SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR FLOODED ROADWAYS. AT 7:15 PM EST, THE GAUGE AT SHERRILL DRIVE ON ROCK CREEK IN NW DC IS WITHIN ONE-HALF FOOT OF FLOOD STAGE, AND IS CONTINUING TO RISE WITH MORE RAIN ON THE WAY OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. IT IS EXPECTED FOR ROCK CREEK TO REACH FLOOD STAGE BY 9:00 PM EST. RAIN WILL CONTINUE TO PERSIST THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS, ESPECIALLY IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, WHERE WE ARE ALREADY SEEING FLOODING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN VEHICLES. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS PUT UP BARRICADES ON FLOODED ROADWAYS, DO NOT GO AROUND THE BARRICADES, THINKING YOUR VEHICLE CAN GET THROUGH THE FLOOD WATERS. &&

Numerous flooded roadways and water rescues have been reported in nearby Fairfax County. Arlington County has seen fewer significant problems, but ponding has been reported on some local roads.

Today’s rain helped to make 2018 the wettest year on record for the D.C. area. More showers and drizzle are expected Sunday.

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A Flood Watch will be in effect starting at 6 p.m. tonight as Arlington and the D.C. area is in for a heavy dose of rain through Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service says 1-2 inches of rain is likely, raising the possibility of flooding along creeks, streams and in urban areas.

More from NWS:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON…

 

* From this evening through Saturday afternoon

* Moderate rainfall is expected with locally heavy rain possible. Rainfall amounts around 1 to 2 inches are most likely with locally higher amounts around 3 inches possible. Runoff from the rainfall may cause creeks and streams to rise out of their banks as well as the potential for flooding in urban areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Stabbing Near Alexandria BorderUpdated at 2:45 p.m. — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that happened last night at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Glebe Road. The incident, which started when the victim asked for help finding a ride, was initially believed to be a shooting, but was later determined to be “the result of a sharp weapon.” The victim was found with non-life threatening wounds just across the border in Alexandria. [Twitter, ACPD]

Major Redevelopment in Rosslyn — The Dittmar Co. has filed a preliminary site plan to redevelop the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn, building 26- and 38-story towers housing 490 apartments and 327 hotel rooms. The proposal includes a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor of the taller tower and the demolition of a skybridge crossing Fort Myer Drive. [Washington Business Journal]

Leonsis Says Build the Gondola — In a joint WaPo op-ed, Caps and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly and former GOP Congressman Tom Davis say the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola would be a “forward-looking and innovative” investment in our transportation infrastructure. [Washington Post]

Local CEO Buys Rosslyn Buildings — “Affiliates belonging to Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. CEO Dave Schaeffer, one of the region’s highest-paid chief executives, have acquired a pair of Rosslyn office buildings (1550 and 1560 Wilson Blvd) recently renovated to include upgraded common-area space and a new boutique boxing-oriented fitness facility.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sheriff’s Office Raises Money for Prostate Cancer — The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office helped to raise money for prostate cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center during the month of November via its “Beards with a Badge initiative.” [Virginia Hospital Center, WJLA]

November Sets Weather Record — Last month was the wettest November on record for the Washington area. It was also the second-wettest meteorological fall on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service. [Twitter]

Police Searching for Missing Man Last Seen in Georgetown — Police are still looking for David Stern, a D.C. accountant last seen at Dixie Liquor on M Street in Georgetown. The 29-year-old, who is engaged to be married, hasn’t been seen since buying a bottle of Crown Royal at the store this past Tuesday. [Fox 5]

Photo courtesy @wwwchris

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