Water rescues made as flash floods slam D.C. area

·2 min read

Travel across the Washington, D.C., area became chaotic Wednesday as flash flooding quickly rose water to disastrous levels, prompting numerous water rescues.

Flash flood warnings were issued for the nation's capital, as well as surrounding cities such as Baltimore, Arlington, Virginia and Silver Spring, Maryland, through the evening hours. Rain began to come down in mass amounts around 4 p.m. both in D.C. and north of Lexington, Virginia, and more than 4 inches of rain ended up falling on the D.C. area over a two-hour period.

High water levels quickly encompassed Washington, D.C., proper, including on Rhode Island Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, creating havoc for drivers in the city. Local commuters taking public transportation were not immune from rainfall, as water began to seep into local Metro trains:

Another video captured water falling from the ceiling at the Capitol South Station of the D.C. Metro service.

North of the city in Greenbelt, Maryland, lanes of the Beltway Outer Loop remained flooded into the evening commute, blocked by stalled vehicles.

The harrowing scene has elicited water rescue responses, including a report of up to 10 automobiles stuck in high water on I-95, with one noted as being fully submerged on the Capital Beltway. One person in the incident on the interstate was successfully rescued. Inside a Greenbelt home, two people were rescued from inside a basement.

The D.C. Fire and EMS rescued a motorist from the roof of a vehicle on 600 Rhode Island Avenue as high-standing water rose up to the car's headlights.

While ground travel was severely hampered, air travel took on its own challenges in the D.C. area. Due to the thunderstorms, arriving flight delays averaged nearly five hours into Wednesday evening at Reagan National Airport. According to FlightAware, over 100 arriving flights at Reagan National were canceled Wednesday. By early Thursday morning, the majority of the flight delays were resolved.


Adding to the frightening scene in D.C. were lightning strikes captured on the city's Washington Monument EarthCam, showing off the eerie conditions the area faced late in the afternoon.

The source of the rainfall was a slow-moving cold front, which remained a factor across the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast, including the I-95 corridor encompassing Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, through Wednesday night.

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