First, we had an earthquake the likes of which has never been felt in Northern Virginia. And Thursday, we had flooding that, outside of low-lying areas such as Huntington, is virtually unprecedented in this region. A 12-year-old boy in Vienna, a man in Great Falls and a man near Fort Belvoir all were swept to their deaths Thursday night.
These are unforgettable times for an area not typically plagued by “acts of God,” as the insurance companies call them. Can the locusts be far behind?
Here’s some You Tube video of a guy inner-tubing down Fairfax Boulevard [where Route 50 and Route 29 are combined] in Fairfax City on Thursday afternoon. I stupidly drove across this flow a short time before this:
I encountered more potentially lethal rushing water later Thursday evening, as roads started closing and I tried to make my way home. You can read about that after the jump, or simply post your own hair-raising tale in the comments. Be sure to be specific about your location, so we’ll be forewarned for today and in the future.
I was driving east on Route 50 from Fairfax, trying to get to Falls Church to cover a 7:30 p.m. meeting. As I approached Barkley Drive about 7:15 p.m., water from Accotink Creek was flowing across, and the westbound lanes were already closed. People headed east were driving through close to a foot of rushing water, which is dumb, I know. But I figured at least there were others there to witness my demise.
I went through, but ahead it appeared that the highway, at this point Arlington Boulevard, was closed. I turned right onto Barkley Drive, heading south toward Little River Turnpike [Route 236] in the Annandale area. Little River, not good, right?
Fortunately, Barkley Drive had a solid bridge over Accotink Creek, and I cleared that fine. But Barkley Drive doesn’t go all the way to Little River Turnpike. So I made my way east to Prosperity Avenue, knowing that it was undoubtedly already flooded at the creek, but I was well past that.
When I reached Prosperity and turned south, I didn't know that I wa s in the middle of a zone that had already been closed from both directions. And there was another little creek, which doesn’t even have a name, which was now flowing across Prosperity.
“Don’t drown turn around,” they told us constantly Thursday. But I had nowhere to turn around to. I didn’t want to spend the night in the car, a well-worn ‘96 Camry. Idiotically, I drove across close to a foot of rushing water. The car slowed. The water deepened. I began looking downstream.
The reliable Camry plowed forward. The water slapped against the side. I was barely getting traction. But I was moving, slowly. I made it, and powered up the hill. Over the hill, a VDOT truck sat, making sure no one went down the hill. The driver looked at me quizzically. I was shaking too much to wave or say anything.
Do you have a story to tell about your trip through NoVa flooding? Let us know in the comments section below.