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Drenching rains flood DC-area roads as record for wettest year swims into view

Overlook Avenue in Southwest D.C. near the Blue Plains wastewater treatment center was completely covered by water late Monday morning. High water and flooded roads remain in spots as some storm drains are clogged with leaves. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — Drenching rains flooded out D.C.-area roadways, including parts of the Beltway Monday.

The heavy rains prompted flood warnings for the immediate D.C., including the District, parts of Montgomery and Prince’s County in Maryland and parts of Fairfax County, Falls Church and Alexandria in Northern Virginia until 3 p.m.

Overall, a daily record 1.43 inches of rain was recorded at Reagan National Airport by late Monday morning, helping pushing the region one step closer to the wettest year on record. So far, just under 55 inches of rain have fallen at Reagan National Airport, according to the National Weather Service. That’s 19.7 inches of rainfall above normal and the sixth wettest on record. (The NWS records date back to 1871.)

“It’s been quite the anomaly year in terms of precipitation,” said Brandon Fling, an NWS meteorologist. “Obviously, we’ve had quite a bit of flooding, which has definitely kept us busy here at the office.”

The record wettest year on record for the D.C. area was 1889 when 61.33 inches of rain drenched the region.

“So between now and the end of the year … we just need a little over 6 inches for the rest of the year to make a run at the record wettest year in the D.C. area,” Fling said.

Across the region, the rain had mostly turned to drizzle by early afternoon. But the earlier downpours caused traffic headaches.

Traffic was snarled Monday morning on parts of the Beltway after the heavy rain — and leaf-clogged drains — led to high standing water on two lanes of the Beltway’s Inner Loop at River Road in Montgomery County. That snarl eventually led to traffic backing up across the American Legion Bridge back to Tysons, Virginia — a bottleneck that remained throughout the early afternoon.

The WTOP Traffic Center was recording delays coming off the Dulles Toll Road and also off the George Washington Parkway.

Callers in the area of the Beltway reporting high standing water said road crews had hauled in snow plows to unclog storm drains of fallen leaves.

There were also a number of crashes on slick roads Monday morning.

Other area roadways were also washed out by the rain. Overlook Avenue in Southwest D.C. near the Blue Plains wastewater treatment center was completely covered by water late Monday morning, even as drivers continued trying to plow through the water.

Authorities advise drivers to never try to drive through standing water, and to instead turn around and find an alternate route.

Be warning, there’s more rain in the forecast Tuesday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected throughout the day.

Montgomery Parks has also announced that all natural-surface trails in Montgomery County will be closed until Wednesday, Nov. 7 due to excessive flooding and muddy conditions.

(WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report). 


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