An early morning downpour in the Washington area today stalled traffic, caused power outages and produced flooding in low-lying areas throughout the region.

There were numerous accidents caused by road conditions and several rescues of motorists from high water.

Falling trees and debris blocked some roads as well, a situation complicated by traffic signal failures caused by power outages.

About 18000 customers in Maryland, Virginia and the District were without electricity as of about 10 a.m., with the heaviest concentration of outages in the Kensington area of Montgomery County.

Montgomery County cancelled summer school programs at Albert Einstein High School, Newport Mill Middle School, Oakland terrace Elementary School and Stephen Knolss School due to outages.

In Old Town Alexandria, sandbags were out as heavy rains swelled the Potomac and left low-lying streets near the river under water.

Around 8:30 a.m., police officials had closed low-lying King, Union and Strand streets for several blocks around the river. Barricades were up on Union Street at the intersections with King, Cameron and Duke Streets. Several businesses in that area were closed as well.

Laura Mae, who lives in Old Town was out on the deserted streets taking photographs and had stopped in on the Firehook Bakery on Union Street. The water was already "a half a bicycle tire deep," she said, judging from the daily bicycle commuters she'd seen struggling through the streets.

The Bakery was still safe, as was Mae's third-floor condo on the southern edge of Old Town.

But everyone was holding their breath for the coming of high tide at 10 a.m. "Our building is pretty tall, but we're starting to see the water come up over the seawall," she said. Still, she, like most who choose to live and work along the river was unfazed.

"The dogs love it," she said, of the dog walkers still out in the wind and spitting rain and pooling water. "We're used to it. It's one of the downsides, but it could be an upside to living on the water, you get to see nature at its best."

Steve Mason, spokesman for the City of Alexandria, said he had not received reports yet this morning of basement floodings or sewage backup, which are common on low-lying streets like Commonwealth Avenue. There had been reports of sporadic street flooding and one tree down, but no streets were closed other than those on the lower end of King Street.

"We might have dodged a bullet," he said. "Even though it was a steady rain, it wasn't a deluge."

In Loudoun County, shortly after 8 a.m., rescue workers freed a motorist who had driven into high water near Hibbs Bridge Road and had become trapped. The county, while hilly, is also ribboned with tributaries, the Potomac on the north and Goose Creek, which is prone to flooding.

Mary Maguire, Loudoun fire and rescue spokesperson, said some trees were down and some roads were experiencing flash flooding but no roads were closed. "With flash flooding, the water comes up extremely quickly, but as soon as you get out there to photograph it, it's gone."

In Arlington, police officials said that while some streets were flooded, the water wasn't high enough to warrant street closures.

In Fairfax County, heavy rains flooded low-lying roads. As of 8:30 a.m., police officials had closed Woodburn Road at Spicewood, which lies near a creek, due to high water.

Portions of heavily-traveled Hunter Mill Road and Lawyers Road were underwater, forcing commuters to either forge foot-high muddy water or make a U-turn on the narrow two-lane road.

Mud and gravel from a nearby construction site washed across Ox Road, but police had cleared it sufficiently by the time the morning commute was underway. A few traffic lights were out as well due to the storm.

On Lee Highway and Fairfax County Parkway and West Ox Road, the traffic light went out at 4 a.m., and although Virginia Power was on site at 5:45 a.m., police were still out directing traffic.

State and local authorities closed several streets in Montgomery County this morning due to flooding.

Jerusalem Road, West Old Baltimore Road, White Stone Road and Beach Drive were among the roads closed as of about 9:30 a.m., fire and rescue officials said. "We do have some high water in low areas, but nothing too significant," said Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

Beach was blocked off by yellow steel rails in both directions at the Connecticut Avenue intersection, just a half-mile north of the Capitol Beltway. Water covered the entirety of the low-dipping, two-lane road both east and west of Connecticut for a while.

Before Beach Drive was closed, a woman attempted to drive her car through the flooded street and got stuck, Piringer said. Fire and rescue officials helped her walk out of her car safely and she did not appear to suffer any injuries, he said.

About a mile northwest, in the 9600 block of Culver Street, a tree fell had fallen due to the storm and blocked the entire residential road, forcing drivers to find alternate routes.

Another tree fell on Peachtree Road in Montgomery, Piringer said. Several traffic signals were not working during the morning commute on Connecticut through Chevy Chase and police stood in the street to direct traffic.

An overnight downpour, the remnants Tropical Storm Cindy, dropped two to three inches in some parts of the area with another inch to a half-inch possible. writer John Nichols contributed to this story.