More than 1 1/2 inches of rain fell on the Washington area yesterday, contributing to the morning car crash that killed a Fairfax County woman and producing minor flooding that inconvenienced commuters.

National Weather Service spokesmen said the rain began at National Airport at about 10:30 a.m. and, with heavier downpours hitting the area later in the day, 1.56 inches of rain had been unofficially recorded at the airport by 10 p.m.

"There's a cold front approaching from the west, and also there's a surface low right now that's along the eastern Carolina-Virginia border {and} moving up the coast," forecaster George Maglaras said yesterday evening. "The area between the front and the low is getting a lot of precipitation."

Two accidents within a half hour on the Virginia side of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge closed parts of the Capital Beltway in both directions for more than an hour during the afternoon; no injuries were reported in either wreck.

Flooding was reported on northbound I-95 north of Rte. 1 in the Woodbridge area, southbound I-395 south of Columbia Pike and on Boundary Channel Drive in Arlington last night, authorities said.

D.C. police reported that four cars became disabled in the Ninth Street tunnel because of rush-hour flooding.

Fairfax County police reported that a motorist died shortly before noon when the car she was driving west on Telegraph Road hydroplaned on a slick bridge.

The woman tried to turn the car sharply left as it headed for a guardrail on the right side of the bridge, and the car struck an eastbound vehicle, police said. Suzanne F. Sirin, 23, of the Baileys Crossroads area was pronounced dead at the scene, they said.

The driver of the other vehicle was not injured, but a passenger was treated at Mount Vernon Hospital, police said.