Storm brings mod­er­ate flood­ing af­ter dry spell

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS/OBITUARIES - BY MICHAEL E. RUANE michael.ruane@wash­post.com

Six to 10 inches of rain over the past five days, along with tides and strong winds out of the east, pro­duced flood­ing across the Washington re­gion, which had been un­usu­ally dry for weeks, fore­cast­ers said Satur­day.

In Vir­ginia, lood­ing was re­ported at the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Bridge-Tun­nel near Nor­folk, along the James River at Jamestown, and on the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay near York­town, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said.

Tidal flood­ing Sun­day and Mon­day in coastal ar­eas is ex­pected to make things worse.

Mi­nor to mod­er­ate flood­ing oc­curred on the Po­tomac River in Alexandria and Georgetown and along the Dis­trict’s Washington Chan­nel, where wa­ter in­un­dated walk­ways and par­tially sub­merged park benches.

Sand­bags were in place at a wa­ter­front build­ing at the head­quar­ters of the Na­tional Mall and Me­mo­rial Parks on the Chan­nel. The Po­tomac spilled from its banks in East Po­tomac Park, and walk­ways around the Tidal Basin near the Jef­fer­son Me­mo­rial were sub­merged.

Some ar­eas on the Sev­ern River in An­napo­lis, the Patux­ent River near Bowie, and sev­eral places on the North­ern Neck also saw high wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

There also was flood­ing in Ocean City, Md., and Wachapreague, Va. Beaches from New Jersey to the Caroli­nas were bat­tered by wind and surf.

South of the Washington area, flood­ing con­di­tions were worse.

More than a foot of rain fell in parts of North Carolina, said An­gela Fritz of The Washington Post’s Cap­i­tal Weather Gang. Lit­tle River, N.C., had 16 inches of rain through Satur­day morn­ing and North Myr­tle Beach, S.C., had more than 15 inches.

In some cases, rain has fallen at the rate of two inches an hour.

Pres­i­dent Obama de­clared a state of emer­gency in South Carolina on Satur­day, or­der­ing fed­eral aid to sup­ple­ment state and lo­cal as­sis­tance and au­tho­riz­ing fed­eral agen­cies to co­or­di­nate dis­as­ter re­lief ef­forts, Reuters re­ported.

Video footage showed flooded Charleston streets. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued flash­flood warn­ings for sev­eral coun­ties in south­east­ern South Carolina.

“Although wide­spread heavy rain has di­min­ished over the last few hours, pe­ri­ods of ad­di­tional heavy rain­fall [are] ex­pected later,” the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said Satur­day af­ter­noon. “This ad­di­tional rain­fall will ex­ac­er­bate any on­go­ing flood­ing and pos­si­bly pro­duce new ar­eas of flash flood­ing.”

In the Washington area, Satur­day was a misty, blus­tery day with light rain and build­ings shrouded in fog. The Sun­day forecast was for more of the same.

Since Tues­day, the re­gion has re­ceived “about six to eight inches of rain, maybe eight to 10 inches in parts of Loudoun County,” Luis Rosa, se­nior fore­caster at the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice of­fice in Ster­ling, Va., said Satur­day.

“We had more rain on Tues­day than we had the past two days,” Rosa said.

All that was with­out a di­rect visit from Hur­ri­cane Joaquin, which stayed over the At­lantic Ocean, 500 miles off the coast, Rosa said.

“We had been in a dry spell,” he said. Fair­fax County along In­ter­state 95 to Fred­er­icks­burg had been parched, as well as the Po­tomac River Basin out to Western Mary­land. “All those ar­eas were des­ig­nated ab­nor­mally dry,” he said.

The sun, miss­ing in ac­tion for al­most a week, is ex­pected to make a lim­ited re­turn Mon­day.

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