Outage, crashes and damages as storms arrive in DC area wreaking havoc

Heavy rain has caused thousands of power outages, multiple crashes and damage from fallen trees and wires as storms arrived in the D.C. area Wednesday, with the potential for totals up to half a foot throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, a fallen tree has blocked Montgomery Village Avenue at Wightman Road, the county police said.

And on Leland Court, in Chevy Chase, a tree took down some live wires and narrowly missed a house:

About 5,000 customers in Northern Virginia are without power as of 5:30 p.m., Dominion Power reported.

“We’ve had some stormy weather,” said Pete Piringer, of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department. He said the department received about 100 calls between noon and 5 p.m.

Piringer cited “dozens” of wrecks on I-270 and the Beltway, including one incident on northbound 270, where a crew of EMS workers has hit by one motorist while they were working on a separate crash near Montrose Road. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

He also said a tree had gone into a house in Turnham Court, in Gaithersburg, and that wires were also down on Ellingson Drive, off Colston Drive in Chevy Chase.

Dave Dildine in the WTOP Traffic Center reported numerous incidents throughout the region, too.

Several crashes led to long delays on the Capital Beltway, including one on the Inner Loop at Ritchie-Marlboro Road in Maryland that involved several cars, trucks and a bus.

At the same time, a multi-vehicle crash on the Outer Loop in Alexandria, Virginia, near Eisenhower Avenue backed traffic up for miles into Springfield.

Several fallen trees kept Beach Drive closed between Rock Creek Parkway and the National Zoo for several hours.

The traffic lights on Canal Road at Arizona Avenue and Reservoir Road were dark which led to slow traffic in many directions.

And a large tree fell onto the southbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway near Route 123 Wednesday evening. Drivers were only able to get by on the muddy median strip.

Flash Flood Watch

A Flash Flood Watch will be in effect from late Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon. It includes D.C., and areas of Maryland and Northern Virginia, the National Weather Service said. Those areas include:

In Maryland, Carroll, Cecil, central and southeast Howard, most of Montgomery, Baltimore, northwest and southeast Harford and Northwest Howard counties.

In Virginia, Arlington, eastern Loudoun and Fairfax counties, as well as Falls Church and Alexandria.

A watch means that the conditions for a severe thunderstorm are possible; a warning means they are happening or imminent.

Downpours could dump between 3 and 5 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of between 6 and 8 inches in the mountains.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell expects the flood threat will shift closer to D.C. and Baltimore on Wednesday night, when a plume of moisture ahead of a cold front will combine with a tropical air mass from former Hurricane Nicholas.

“That tropical connection means that the threat of heavy rain and flooding is quite high as this storm passes through our area,” Bell said. “The main take-away is that you should be prepared for periods of rain today and then a burst of heavy rain later tonight and into the first half of Thursday.”

Parts of Anne Arundel County, St. Mary’s County and D.C. could see minor coastal flooding around high tide Wednesday evening, the weather service said, with up to 1 foot of water in low-lying areas along the shore.

Fall officially arrived at 3:21 p.m. Wednesday with the autumnal equinox. The equinox is one of two days out of the year when Earth experiences 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.


Wednesday evening: Showers and thunderstorms, becoming heavier overnight. Flash Flood Watch for most of area from late Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon. Lows in the mid- to upper 60s.

Thursday: Cool, breezy and wet, with heaviest rain in the morning. A Flash Flood Watch continues until Thursday evening for most of the area. Highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s.

Friday: Sunny, with a fresh breeze and lower humidity. Highs in the mid- to upper 70s.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the low to mid-70s.

Current conditions:

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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