Heavy rains cause problems throughout Northern Virginia

Heavy rains that fell throughout the region Tuesday are thought to have contributed to the death of at least one highway traveler, flooded roads and caused the evacuation of homes in western Prince William County.

In a crash on Interstate 95 just north of Dumfries, the driver of a southbound Ford van carrying nine passengers lost control about 4:30 a.m., Virginia State Police said. The van ran off the highway, hit a guardrail and flipped at least twice, police say, coming to rest on its side.

Job J. Diaz-Lemus, 29, of Gaithersburg was charged with reckless driving in the incident. A state police officer determined that Diaz-Lemus was driving too fast for the wet conditions, police say. Three people were ejected from the van, and one — Marciso A. Campos, 43, of Alexandria — died.

In the Manassas area on the western side of the county, rains deluged Lake Jackson, triggering an alarm that goes off when the water rises more than 61 / feet above normal, said Kim Hylander, a fire and rescue department spokeswoman. The alarm, in turn, triggers a mandatory evacuation for “certain low-lying areas,” she said. Fire officials said that the water had started receding Tuesday afternoon and that the evacuations were precautionary.

Prince William, along with parts of northeastern Fauquier County, got the worst of the storms Tuesday, with some areas registering four to five inches of rain according to Kevin Witt, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Thunderstorms and rain are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, Witt said, but forecasters aren’t sure how severe the “slow-moving” storm system will be.

“We’re looking at . . . potential for flooding,” Witt said. “We’re monitoring [the storm systems] very closely.”

In Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors agreed to set up a referendum for this fall on whether to issue a $30 million bond for a long-awaited flood-protection project in Huntington.

Less than a year after a devastating flood swept through the county, the board voted 6 to 3 to add the proposed levee bond to a $155 million bond package for parks, libraries and public safety projects.

Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), who requested the bond for flood protection, said that the county should fulfill a 40-year-old promise to protect the middle-class enclave along Cameron Run.

He said residents of the neighborhood overwhelmingly would prefer to protect their homes rather than support redevelopment.

The board’s three Republican supervisors — John C. Cook (Braddock), Michael R. Frey (Sully) and Pat S. Herrity (Springfield) — opposed the bond referendum for flooding.

The board also considered but ultimately rejected issuing a $50 million bond that would pay for flood protection in Huntington and other stormwater needs across the county.

Some rural roads were washed out Tuesday, Northern Virginia officials said. In a second morning crash on I-95, a motorist was killed in a three-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes just south of Dale City, at 7:45 a.m., according to police. It was not immediately clear whether weather conditions contributed to that incident.

Jeremy Borden covers Prince William County, Va., for The Washington Post.
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