Area streams and rivers, still swollen yesterday after two days of heavy rains, have done thousands of dollars in damage to property and caused the indefinite closing of one major commuter route in suburban Maryland, officials said.
While most jurisdictions reported few lingering problems after the severe thunderstorms Sunday and Monday, portions of Prince George's County still were flooded late yesterday as some streams and creeks crested, police said.
One section of Central Avenue, a principal commuter route between Annapolis and Washington that has been flooded periodically for the past three days, was ordered closed "indefinitely" by authorities, according to Prince George's police spokesman Ronald L. Smith.
Police closed Central Avenue at Enterprise Road and will continue to divert traffic to Routes 450 and 202 until the flood waters recede, Smith said. Lotts Ford Road, which police had earlier designated as an alternate route, was closed yesterday when it too was flooded, Smith said.
In Upper Marlboro, police barricaded a section of Water Street flooded by the rising waters of Western Branch.
According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday's flooding in low-lying areas was unusually severe because Monday's rains fell on already saturated ground.
Nearly three inches of rain have fallen at National Airport since Saturday, said Larry Wenzel, a weather service forecaster.
"We're almost out of the woods, though," said Wenzel.
He predicted that the weak frontal system that brought the torrential rains to Washington would move south through Virginia early today.
Today's forecast calls for sunshine with temperatures in the mid-80s.
Clear weather today would be a boon for local cleanup crews, which yesterday began clearing debris left behind by ebbing flood waters, officials said.
In Montgomery County, park department crews worked to pick up the wreckage of bridges and trees uprooted by the rising waters of Sligo Creek.
One official compared the situation there to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
Sligo Creek "floods even in a two-inch rain, so we got a double whammy with three or more inches in a matter of days," said county parks director Stanton G. Ernst.
The Sligo Creek flood alone damaged at least $100,000 worth of county property, he said. The waters destroyed three-foot bridges, he said, including a special "swing" bridge installed after Agnes and designed to sway in a flood current.
The waters also also stripped asphalt from two sections of Sligo Creek Parkway and ripped two 20-foot lengths of guardrail from their pilings, Ernst added.
Potomac Electric Power Co. spokesman William H. Jones said service was restored early yesterday to all but 100 of the 6,600 Montgomery and Prince George's county residents who lost power in Monday night's thunder and lightning storms.
At the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, most of the 1,000 people who had been forced to abandon their cars during Monday's storm reclaimed them from the concert center's parking lot yesterday, a spokesman said.
Many of the 13,000 fans who braved the downpour to hear the Grateful Dead rock group became stranded when the Middle Patuxent River and nearby creeks flooded, cutting them off from the pavillion's parking lot.
There were no injuries, Howard County police said.