Talk about being snake-bit. In less than two weeks, the Bloomingdale neighborhood just northeast of downtown, Washington, D.C. has been inundated with flood waters three times.
Rhode Island Avenue, which runs through the neighborhood, has been transformed into a raging river and raw sewage has seeped into homes.
The first of the three flood events, on July 10, produced the most water, as a slow moving storm dumped more than 2” of rain in the area.
The events of the last two days (Wednesday late afternoon and Thursday night) produced rain of greater intensity, but the storms moved through the region more swiftly, producing rainfall totals closer to 1-1.5”.
With a flood watch in effect for the region through this evening, the District is taking no chances. The government is distributing sandbags to Bloomingdale residents through 9 p.m. tonight at 200 Bryant St. NW. Residents are permitted to take up to five 40 pound sandbags.
Although it’s both unusual and unlucky for one neighborhood to receive so many deluges in such a short time window, the resulting flooding is more a result of its low elevation and drainage systems than these acts of mother nature.
Bloomingdale lies in the equivalent of a geographic bowl and has some of D.C.’s oldest sewer lines, DCist noted in a blog post on the flooding. Residents have had enough of the flooding, DCist reported:
Teri Janine Quinn, president of the Bloomingdale Civic Association, said that residents were at “their wits’ end” with the flooding that has struck in the last two weeks. “To go into someone’s house and trudge through sewage...it’s just an overwhelming feeling,” she said.
Water rages at 1st and V St. NW Thursday evening. Posted to YouTube by kkgaines
The Post’s July 11 article on the flooding July 10 noted: “there are a number of initiatives to tackle water-flow problems, from adding more trees and ‘green’ roofs to reduce rainwater runoff to a multibillion-dollar project to upgrade the city’s underground plumbing.”
Today’s DCist piece has more on the $2.6 billion dollar infrastructure project, with the important detail that it won’t be completed for 13 years. In other words, Bloomingdale’s flooding problems aren’t going away any time soon.
The irony of these recent flood events is that much of the region is technically in drought, with mounting rainfall deficits. Localized downpours have just had their eyes set on this particularly prone part of the District for whatever cruel reason.