A Day-After-Day Deluge, and Then the Mold

Juan Galvan, left, helps his cousin Saul Romero, right, and nephew Hernandez Noel evacuate in the Alexandria area because of the flooding.
Juan Galvan, left, helps his cousin Saul Romero, right, and nephew Hernandez Noel evacuate in the Alexandria area because of the flooding. (By Alex Wong -- Getty Images)

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

A stubborn low-pressure area turned the region soggy this week, leaving traffic clogged, buildings closed, some homes without power and some residents temporarily homeless.

Rains that started to fall over the weekend turned heavier by the day and continued to threaten the area through yesterday, prompting the county to open shelters for those who had to evacuate, close roads and county centers, and contend with threats from lightning, falling trees and rapidly rising water.

Problems were severe throughout the region, including some suburban evacuations and the closing of buildings in the District. The IRS building was closed, as well as the National Archives and several of the most popular museums on the Mall.

Tunnels in the District flooded, including Metro tunnels, and roads in the area were overrun by water; some buckled. Traffic was snarled; cars were submerged and abandoned.

In Fairfax, the American Red Cross and the county opened a shelter at Edison High School in the Alexandria area to accommodate those who left their houses in the Arlington Terrace section of southeastern Fairfax after Cameron Run flooded parts of the area.

Huntington Community Center and Little River Glen Senior Center were closed because of flood damage.

Summer ball was disrupted in many areas.

The rain caused situations such as that in West Springfield, whose Little League posted photos on its Web site showing damage to its fields and bleachers that floated onto a centerfield fence.

The league posted an urgent plea for volunteers to help with cleanup so that an all-star event could be played this weekend.

By Tuesday afternoon, the emergency shelter at Edison High was opened again and, with more, potentially heavy, rain on the way, was kept open through the night and at least until last night.

County officials cautioned that hazards would not disappear when the rain stopped.

They issued a list of tips on how to clean up mold. The most effective way, according to the county's tip sheet, is to clear all water damage and clean affected areas. It suggested these steps:


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