Rainfall amounts up to 5-6” in localized areas; widespread street flooding occurring; officials urge flood safety precautions

Flash flood watch thru Wed. p.m.| Hurricane Tracking Center

Latest on road closures and traffic impacts: Dr. Gridlock

3:05 p.m. update: Picture of cars driving through flood waters on Md. Rt. 50 eastbound at state line. They should not be doing this.

2:50 p.m. update: As the steady rain continues to pull away (especially north and west of I-95) leaving behind just scattered showers, check out this crazy video of flooding in Ellicott City from earlier:

Another Ellicott City flooding video (h/t Justin Berk)

2:25 p.m. update: The driving rain is slowly but surely pulling away from the region (although occasional showers may linger). The flash flood warning has been discontinued for parts of the southern and western suburbs including central Fairfax county, SE Prince William county, and west central Charles county. Expect the other flash flood warnings to be lifted in the next hour or so. Note that flooding can continue for a few hours after the rain subsides, so continue to use caution.

Rainfall totals so far have generally been 1.5-4”, with some localized 3-6” amounts in central Charles county, eastern Howard county, and western Baltimore county.

Overview: Flash Flood Warnings are in effect for much of the metro region through this afternoon and evening (except Loudoun and Frederick counties). Widespread reports of flooded roads have been reported (follow our Twitter feed above and Dr. Gridlock for road updates ).

The National Weather Service emailed media partners stating up to 5-6 inches of rain may fall in the Baltimore-Washington region this afternoon with rainfall rates as high as 2” per hour. Most areas should receive at least 2-3”. It urged residents take flood safety precautions to avoid water rescues. That means: do not cross flooded roadways in your car and keep children away from flooded culverts.

Earlier updates

Earlier updates:

1:45 p.m. update:When does it end? Radar is beginning to show the southwest edge reaching into Prince William county. Rain should diminish in coverage and intensity between 2:30 and 4 p.m. from southwest to northeast. Occasional showers will remain possible after that.

1:15 p.m. update: Flash flood warnings have been extended into central and eastern Montgomery, all of Howard, and eastern Carroll counties until 4:15 p.m. 1-2” of rain has fallen in this area and another inch or so is possible.

12:45 p.m. update: The flash flood warning for the District and close-in suburbs has been extended until 5:45 p.m. NWS reports generally 1-3” has fallen in this area, with 3-5” over central Charles county. Another 1-2” of rain is possible in this area.

12:30 update: All of Prince George’s and Charles county under Flash Flood Warning now, which extends until 6:15 p.m. in the eastern sections

12:15 update: A large swath of heavy rain is about to envelop the entire metro region. This will cause existing flooding to worsen and more flooding to develop. The first wave of heavy rain that passed through the District was accompanied by gusty winds to 40-50 mph, and may have caused a large crane to topple at the National Cathedral.

11:45 update: Flash flood warnings expanded south and west into southeast Prince William co, most of Fairfax county (including city of Fairfax), western Charles county, and eastern Stafford county until 2:30 p.m.

11:40 update: Heavy rain looks to extend into western suburbs outside beltway in next hour. It’s very possible the region covered by flood warnings will be expanded both north and west. Flooding has already been reported in parts of the region. CWG’s Jamie Jones reports a foot of standing water on I395 before D St.

11:15 update: This looks to be a classic training situation, where heavy rain continuously tracks over the same narrow areas. Regional radar shows band of heavy rain extends into southeast Va., south of Richmond. Isolated rainfall amounts by late afternoon/evening could easily exceed 3 inches.