Flooding, water rescues; 2nd tornado reported as Ida’s remnants move through DC region

Lightning is seen over D.C. on Sept. 1, 2021. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

The remnants of Ida battered the D.C. region Wednesday, bringing tornadoes and flash flooding to a region already waterlogged from recent storms.

Two tornadoes struck Maryland, one in Anne Arundel County around 2:15 p.m., and another reported 3 miles west of Wicomico in Charles County.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the tornado in Anne Arundel County, spokesperson Kasey Thomas said.

“Our first responders are out there working hard to get those roads cleared and make sure everybody’s OK,” Thomas said. However, early reports showed structural damage to some buildings in the area.

Annapolis resident Steve Adams was heading toward downtown Annapolis when the storm damage stopped him in his tracks.

West Street in Annapolis was blocked off by storm damage after remnants of Ida blew through the D.C. region on Sept. 1, 2021. (Courtesy Steve Adams)

Adams said when he turned around to head toward home, he came across even more storm damage.

“There was a bunch more downed power lines. They’d already cleaned it up for the most part, but it looks like lots of, you know, metal roofing and insulation materials, like you’ll often see if a … tornado … actually touches down,” Adams told WTOP.

Read what it was like for other Anne Arundel County residents who witnessed the tornado.

Predawn storms dumped between 1 and 3 inches of rain over Northern Virginia and Maryland. Around 3 a.m., more than 300 lightning bolts were detected in a 15-minute time span.

After a morning break and a few peeks of sun, rain picked up again as Ida’s remnant low tracked over the Appalachians into Pennsylvania. Around 1 p.m., the National Weather Service began issuing the region’s first tornado warnings of the day.

Flooded roadways, water rescues

Ida’s remnants doused the D.C. region with blinding waves of rain and high winds early Wednesday, waking up residents with frequent lightning and triggering flash floods.

Torrential downpours led to high water on some of the D.C. region’s most important roadways. Lane closures were put in place on Interstate 66 and the Capital Beltway’s Inner Loop in Virginia. In the District, a flash flood forced officials to detour traffic off Rock Creek Parkway near the Kennedy Center.

Montgomery County first responders rescued trapped residents from inundated basement-level apartments in Rockville. Crews broke windows and doors to help about 10 people out of two buildings on Twinbrook Parkway by raft.

A 19-year-old was found dead near his apartment, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman said. At least 150 people are displaced with one still unaccounted for. Fire crews were still on location midmorning pumping out water and searching units.

The National Weather Service said thunderstorms had produced between 2 and 4 inches of rain there in a short period of time; an unofficial total of 3 inches was observed near Potomac.

More storm coverage: 

Later on, 10 children and a driver were rescued from a school bus that was caught in rising floodwaters in Frederick County, Maryland on Wednesday afternoon.

The Frederick County Fire Department said there were a total of 83 roads closed in the county between flooding and ongoing construction.

There have been 17 water rescues conducted and the department has received 39 flooding condition service calls in the last 24 hours, the department said on Twitter.

Maryland State Police said from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., they responded to 92 crashes and 22 disabled/abandoned vehicles, and they answered 568 calls for service.

In Northwest D.C., a surge of water scattered debris and broke up surfaces on Broad Branch Road, an area historically vulnerable to flash flooding. WTOP’s Dave Dildine saw morning floodwaters had rendered the road “nearly impassable,” with large trees, boulders and slabs of asphalt blocking both lanes on the way down into Rock Creek Park.

The National Weather Service relayed reports of water rescues from stranded vehicles in Reston, Virginia, near Metro Center Drive, and in South Laurel, Maryland, near Brock Bridge and Laurel Bowie roads.

For the latest road and traffic conditions, see WTOP’s traffic page or listen to updates every 10 minutes online or on the air at 103.5 FM. Submit traffic tips by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.


Wednesday night: Heavy rain and thunderstorms diminishing before midnight. Breezy and turning cooler overnight. Lows in the low to mid 60s

Thursday: A mix of clouds and sunshine, breezy and pleasant. Highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s

Friday through Sunday: Sunny and pleasant. Highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s

Current conditions:



WTOP’s Abigail Constantino, Dave Dildine, Thomas Robertson and Scott Gelman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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