Floods, torrential rain soak weather-weary DC region

Flooding water from Difficult Creek pouring over Hunter Mill Road. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON — Local creeks surged out of their banks early Wednesday morning, leading to water rescues and causing traffic headaches just in time to snarl the morning commute. And it isn’t over yet — more mean weather could be on the way.

Torrential overnight downpours dumped nearly 3 inches of rain in some areas of northeastern Virginia, overwhelming roadways.

High standing water was spotted in Fairfax, Prince William, Culpeper and Fauquier counties, and a number of suburban Virginia streams were in flood stage by sunrise on Wednesday.

Flooding water from Difficult Creek pouring over Hunter Mill Road. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Difficult Run is overflowing its banks this morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
(WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
(WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
(WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
(WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Heavy rains flooded roads on Aug. 1, 2018. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Heavy rains flooding on Virginia Route 234/Sudley Road, Aug. 1, 2018. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Flooding water from Difficult Creek pouring over Hunter Mill Road. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Heavy rains flooded roads on Aug. 1, 2018. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Difficult Run burst out of its banks near Wolf Trap, Virginia, submerging a bridge and several vehicles on Hunter Mill Road — for decades a persistent flooding hot spot, after neighbors rejected a VDOT proposal to elevate the bridge. Broad Run, Bull Run, and Accotink Creek in Virginia also surged above their banks.

Fairfax Fire & Rescue had to retrieve two motorists stranded in high water near Difficult Run after an earlier driver removed previously installed protective barrier, according to authorities.

Around 3 a.m., Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded to a man who became trapped on Fairfax Station Road after water from Popes Head Creek flooded his car up to the headlights.

Near Nokesville, Virginia, broadcast media reported on a pickup truck, trapped with water up to its doors on Browns Mill Road near Difficult Run.

12-hour rainfall totals (in inches) for Wednesday morning. (Courtesy National Weather Service)

Flood warnings remained in effect for Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax in Virginia until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, with officials urging drivers to avoid flooded roadways. The National Weather Service noted most deaths from flooding occur inside vehicles.

A flood warning was also in effect for southern Fauquier County, western Prince William County, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park until noon Wednesday. Broad Run near Manassas and Cedar Run were both still out of their banks, and several water rescues had been reported.

A flash flood watch remained in effect through Thursday afternoon for most of Virginia and Maryland west of I-95, including Loudoun, Fauquier, and Culpeper counties in Virginia, and portions of Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland.

As it stands, this July is the fourth-wettest on record for the Washington area — and more rain could be on the way. Thunderstorms are a possibility from Wednesday through Thursday afternoon, some of which could pack damaging wind gusts and small hail, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

WTOP’s Will Vitka contributed to this report.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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