High water blocked streets and intersections throughout the Washington area yesterday, delaying evening rush hour traffic, as a brief but powerful thunderstorm swept across the area, bringing high winds and heavy rain.

Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park was closed after a mudslide north of the zoo deposited about a foot of mud on the roadway. Three feet of water was reported on Irving Street NE near Michigan Avenue.

Traffic was backed up for hundreds of yards as a result of flooding at the intersection of Canal Road and Arizona Avenue NW. Spout Run in Arlington was closed to westbound motorists for a time.

Fallen trees, downed power lines and flooding halted or delayed traffic at many other spots for various periods after the storm began here about 5 p.m. A peak wind gust of 52 miles an hour was reported at Dulles Airport, where about a third of an inch of rain fell.

The National Weather Service said showers and thunderstorms are likely again today. They said they expected the period of precipitation to end gradually during the night tonight.

The severity of yesterday's storm was attributed to the high temperatures and humidity levels that prevailed before the storm.

There were no reports of serious injuries in incidents directly linked to the rainfall.