DC region sees sunshine again after Ida remnants bring floods, tornadoes

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With Ida’s exit bringing clearer and fall-like weather behind it, the D.C. region finally has time to assess damage from two days of severe weather and deadly flash flooding.

At long last, the sun is back: With Ida’s exit bringing clearer and fall-like weather behind it, the D.C. region finally has time to assess damage from two days of severe weather and deadly flash flooding.

With the storm now gone, the focus on Thursday shifts to the lingering floodwaters and widespread damage from at least two destructive tornadoes in the listening area: One widely seen near Annapolis, and a second reported in Charles County.

Flooding of streams and rivers will remain a concern for the next couple of days; Ida dumped over 7 inches of rain over parts of Northern Maryland in a relatively short period of time — and some rivers have yet to crest.

A flood warning for Frederick County continues until 4 p.m.

The National Weather Service said the amount of rain that fell at BWI-Marshall Airport on Wednesday set a record at 4.13 inches. The previous record was 3.96 inches, set in 1952.

“The remnants of Ida, no longer a tropical system but a strong low pressure system, is now departing the U.S. and the cold front it merged with is now moving well south and east of us,” Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said. “Behind it, a strong area of Canadian high pressure is building in, and northwest winds will continue to dry us out today.”



‘Like a freight train’

Hurricanes can be prolific tornado producers, but Wednesday’s outbreak was noteworthy even by tropical standards. Former Ida moved into an atmosphere primed for a swath of large and long-track tornadoes atypical for the Northeast — dozens of viral eyewitness videos captured scenes resembling what one might expect out of Kansas or Oklahoma.

In Annapolis, Maryland, one resident likened it to a scene from the Wizard of Oz: “It looked just like that,” David Joseph told WTOP, describing shingles being torn off rooftops minutes after receiving an emergency alert on his phone.

Gov. Larry Hogan said state and county officials were responding to substantial damage from Central Avenue in Edgewater to West Street in Annapolis. Hogan visited West Street and Edgewater’s South River High School on Thursday.

Some Edgewater residents were picking up the pieces again almost exactly a year since an EF-1 tornado moved through their neighborhood with winds estimated at around 90 mph. Reporting from the scene, WTOP’s Dave Dildine felt an “eerie sense of déjà vu.”

“I have stood in this exact spot twice in less than a year, and both times it’s been covering tornado damage,” Dildine said. “Two tornadoes moving two different directions a year apart, their paths crisscrossing right here at South River Landing.”

To the south in Charles County, a law enforcement officer observed a separate funnel on the ground near Allens Fresh spinning toward Dentsville east of Md. Route 301; no damage was immediately reported.

The National Weather Service is surveying the Annapolis area to determine the twister’s intensity and path. It will release its conclusions to the public.

“Certain types of damage will occur to homes at certain wind speeds,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Pallozzi said. “Using those damage indicators, we can determine wind speed associated with the tornado.”

Pallozzi said the weather service also received two video reports of tornadoes in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. They were in the Hurlock and nearby East New Market areas.

Rainfall totals over the last 48 hours. Shaded colors show radar-estimated rainfall, while figures are unofficial reports from rain gauges. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy NWS)

Major rivers still rising

Much of our region saw between 3 and 5 inches of rainfall, with even higher amounts further north near Pennsylvania. Ida is now history, but all that water has to go somewhere — and as forecasters expected, what began as flash floods on smaller streams is draining into the area’s main stem rivers.

The Monocacy River in Frederick rose above 20 feet early Thursday, entering what forecasters consider a major flood stage. At this height, the weather service projects “significant lowland flooding” reaching Md. Route 26 near the Monocacy River Bridge and Gambill Mill on the Monocacy National Battlefield.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein found Buckeystown Community Park off Route 80/Fingerboard Road under several feet of water. On the outskirts of Frederick, Ballenger Creek had almost crept up to the bridge that carries Route 85/Buckeystown Pike.

Forecasts call for the Monocacy to crest on Thursday afternoon before receding back into its banks through Saturday.

Minor flooding is expected along the Potomac in D.C. on Friday and Saturday. Flood-prone areas near Fletcher’s Boathouse, Roosevelt Island and the Georgetown boardwalk could be submerged during high tide.

Several trails on both sides of the river between Great Falls and the Chain Bridge also might be impacted; a Flood Watch for parts of Loudoun and Montgomery counties advises that water may reach the parking lot at Edwards Ferry and inundate areas near White’s Ferry in Poolesville.

Ida’s broad remnant low set up a fire hose of tropical moisture across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, bringing an unprecedented amount of rainfall and flash flooding to hundreds of thousands from the D.C. and Baltimore region, to New York City and suburban New Jersey.

Wednesday’s torrential downpours led to high water on some of the D.C. region’s roadways, and rescues kept first responders busy. One man is dead in Rockville after early morning storms caused a deluge that flooded two apartment buildings. In Frederick County, Maryland, 10 children had to be rescued when a school bus got stuck in high water.

Road closures

DC
  • Broad Branch Road NW is closed between Brandywine Street and Ridge Road after Wednesday morning’s flash flooding tore up asphalt and downed wires.
Maryland
  • Sligo Creek Parkway is closed between Md. Route 193/University Boulevard and Carroll Avenue due to lingering high water.
  • Beach Drive is closed both ways between Md. Route 547/Knowles Avenue and Old Spring Road due to flooding.
  • In the Annapolis and Edgewater areas, various roads remain closed due to damage from Thursday’s storms. See a list of road closures from Anne Arundel County police.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is prohibiting house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle deemed unsafe from crossing due to high winds in Ida’s wake.

Travel

  • All Amtrak service between Washington and Boston has been canceled.

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. Have an update? Let us know by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.


Forecast:

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Breezy, mild and pleasant. Highs in the mid 70s to near 80.

Thursday night: Mostly clear. Winds calming. Lows in the low 60s in the cities, and low 50s for the suburbs.

Friday: Mostly sunny. Mild. Highs in the mid to upper 70s.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s to near 80.

Sunday: Clouds increase with a few afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70s to low 80s.

Monday (Labor Day): Mostly sunny. More seasonably warm but comfortable. Highs in the low to mid 80s.


Current conditions:


Power outages:

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino and Nardos Mesmer contributed to this report. Neal Augenstein reported from Frederick County, Maryland; Dave Dildine reported from Edgewater.

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