Still shaking off the shock of this week’s earthquake, the region may get a trial run for Hurricane Irene as storms capable of producing heavy rain roll into the area today.
A flash flood watch extends through the region until this evening, with the possibility of heavy downpours along the Interstate 95 corridor. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for several counties until 9 p.m.
The rain will undoubtedly make this afternoon’s commute troublesome for drivers and passengers on commuter buses and rail. Airline passengers are already feeling the effects with severe delays in the Northeast.
Virginia Railway Express sent out a message to its riders warning that if the watch becomes a flash flood warning, speed restrictions will go into effect, slowing trains on the Manassas Line to 15 mph and to 40 mph on the Fredericksburg Line. Delays for people on the ends of those lines could run from 30 to 75 minutes.
Flood restrictions are also possible for the Brunswick and Camden lines of the Maryland Area Regional Commuter train service.
Motorists should drive with caution, especially in areas that are prone to flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
• Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars and may cause you to lose control or stall.
• A foot of water will float many vehicles.
• Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles — even SUVs and pickups.
Flooding is likely in low-lying areas and on streets with slow drainage. Additionally, flooded areas may be more difficult to identify at night, they said.
Flight delays are already being reported at many major airports in the eastern portion of the country, including National Airport, BWI, Philadelphia and New York’s three major airports.
[Resources for reporting problems after the jump]
Here are some resources for reporting power outages, downed trees and debris in roadways.
BGE outages: 877-778-2222; downed wires: 800-685-0123; outage map
Dominion outages and downed wires: 866-366-4357; outage map
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative outages and downed wires: 703-335-0500; outage reports
Pepco outages: 877-737-2662; downed wires: 202-872-343; outage map
Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
Downed trees and debris in roads
Anne Arundel County: After hours, 410-222-6120; northern district, 410-222-6120; central district, 410-222-7940; southern district; 410-222-7940; Annapolis; 410-263-7870.
Arlington County:703-228-6527; after hours, 703-558-2222.
Calvert County: 410-535-1600.
Charles County: 301-932-3450 or 301-870-2778.
The District: 311; clogged storm drains, 202-612-3400.
Fairfax County: 703-324-5033 (Public Works); 571-350-1000 (Emergency Management); 703-383-VDOT.
Howard County: 410-313-3440.
Loudoun County:703-777-0333 (Emergency Management); 703-383-VDOT.
Maryland state: 800-543-2515.
Montgomery County: 240-777-6000.
National Park Service: nps.gov/state/dc/
Prince George’s County: 301-499-8520; after hours, 301-499-8600.
Prince William County: 703-792-7070 or 703-383-VDOT.
Virginia State: 703-383-VDOT.
If you're flying out of town, here are some resources for more information on how your specific flight plans may be affected:
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