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Storms Lash Area, Causing Flooding

Residents of at least four apartments in a building on Morris Drive in Laurel were forced to leave because of flood damage, Bowers said.

The full force of the storm began to be felt about 8 p.m., as sheets of rain began to soak lower Montgomery County and Upper Northwest Washington. Within the next hour or two, rescuers were dispatched to aid stalled motorists in Montgomery at such spots as Massachusetts Avenue at Little Falls Parkway, where three people were extricated from high water.

___  Driving Precautions ___

If you are driving during a flood, American Red Cross suggests taking these precautions:

Do not attempt to cross flowing streams or puddles. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious.

Avoid already flooded areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.

If you are driving and come upon rapidly rising waters, find another route. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.

If your vehicle becomes surrounded by water or the engine stalls, and if you can safely get out, abandon your vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground.

Source: American Red Cross Flood Safety

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In Silver Spring, where Sligo Creek overflowed, rescuers saved a motorist who was in a car that, impelled by the force of the fast-moving water, "continued downstream," Piringer said.

Rescues also were made on River Road in the Somerset area, where three people who had been in two cars were brought to safety.

No injuries were reported to those who escaped stalled cars, some with the aid of boats brought by swift-water rescue teams. However, Piringer said passengers were injured in several collisions elsewhere in the county.

He said several structures in Montgomery were reported hit by lightning. Damage was estimated at several hundred thousand dollars at a house in the 18200 block of New Hampshire Avenue in the Ashton section, Piringer said.

Flash flood warnings were issued last night for much of the area. The warning for Prince George's was extended until 1:45 a.m. today as rain continued to fall.

Despite lightning and wind gusts of as much as 30 miles an hour, Pepco said only about 600 customers were without electricity at one point late last night.

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