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Dangerous Flooding Causes Havoc In D.C. Area

C & O Park Rangers Divert Floodwaters

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Heavy rains on Wednesday have caused widespread flooding in the D.C. area.
Armando Trull
Heavy rains on Wednesday have caused widespread flooding in the D.C. area.

Roads across the D.C. Metro area are under water as a flash flood warning has been issued for most of the D.C. Metro area. One to three inches of rain have already fallen over the region, with as much as five inches expected by the end of the day.

According to the National Weather Service, a portion of the outer loop of the Capital Beltway near Exit 19 is flooded. In D.C., reports from the District Department of Transportation indicate that the 14th Street Bridge has been closed for high water,  the Southbound 9th St. Tunnel at Indendendence Ave is closed, and there is flooding at 15th and Constitution Ave.

Charles County Schools are canceling afternoon and evening activities due to the inclement weather, according to NBC Washington.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park declared a flood emergency on Tuesday morning. Park staffers have since been watching the forecast, measuring water levels and preparing.

Alyssa Baltrus with the National Park Service says rangers are taking away some of the older wood banisters on the boardwalk near the trails and limiting access to some areas of the park including the bridges, as well as removing some of the railings on the Olmsted Island Bridges in anticipation of flooding at the C and O National Historic Park.

"If debris and everything gets knocked against the railing it could take out the entire bridge, but if we could pull the railings up and let the debris just float over the top of it, it will protect the bridge," Baltrus says. "We lost this bridge in the '96 flood."

Rangers are also ready to divert floodwaters by removing wooden barriers and opening and closing certain locks on the C and O canal by using what they call a water weir.

"It allows us to protect Washington D.C. by taking on water during a flood," says Baltrus.

As the heavy rains continue, the NWS urges residents to take extra precautions and avoid crossing flooded roadways.

 

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