Rain in Washington fell steadily through Friday night, but it was light enough to banish fears that widespread flooding lay in store.
Although rainfall could pick up for a while, and even become heavy at times, weather experts said, they expected few of the torrential downpours that raise the threat of flash flooding. Saturday’s rainfall was expected to be light for most of the day, according to The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, but rain could continue into Sunday.
As of 8 p.m. Friday, the amount of rain measured at Reagan National Airport was edging toward the one-inch mark. The 0.93 inches measured as of 10 p.m. pushed the total rainfall since Tuesday to about three and one third inches.
In the hour between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., a distinctly non-threatening 0.01 inches of rain fell at National.
If not by monsoons, Friday was distinguished by its low temperatures. Washington’s high of 58 degrees, reached a few minutes after midnight, was 15 degrees below normal.
The peak wind gust at National through 5 p.m. Friday was 31 mph — 5 mph more than at Dulles. Wallops Island, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, recorded a peak gust of 45 mph.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service confirmed that a small tornado had touched down about 10 p.m. Tuesday on a path from Laurel, in Prince George’s County, to Scaggsville in Howard County, causing some damage.
Among spots where the effects of wind and rain were notable Friday were the Atlantic beaches. At times of high tide, water rose for on streets in Ocean City. Delmarva Power said it shut off power for a time to a section of the city after water submerged electrical equipment. The section involved was south of North Division Street and Baltimore Avenue.
Surf chewed into the sandy shoreline at Bethany Beach, Del., and on the Chesapeake Bay, it surged against shoreline rocks in St. Leonard, Md.
If they failed to inundate the immediate area, wind and rain and the prospects that they would continue, sufficed to cancel a variety of events. Howard University said its homecoming parade, scheduled for Saturday, would be canceled. All other homecoming events would go on, the university said via Twitter.
Local police departments issued warnings reminding motorists to stay off water-covered roadways, slow down and allow extra travel time. A flash-flood watch is in effect for the D.C. metro area through Saturday morning for two to three inches of rain.
The rain came as forecasters closely watched the progress of Hurricane Joaquin. A National Hurricane Center’s forecast on Friday showed the hurricane tracking northeast from the Bahamas, with no direct impact to the D.C. area but plenty of rain ahead of it.
The storm system could bring flooding, erosion and damaging winds to Mid-Atlantic beaches.
Parts of Maryland and Virginia were under a state of emergency as the storm loomed. In both states, it meant that National Guard troops can mobilize to deal with hazardous conditions and local authorities can evacuate neighborhoods if needed.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said Friday that the state wouldn’t experience the “cataclysmic” event it could have seen. But he said he needed to give officials time to reposition ships in Norfolk, adding that he preferred to “err on the side” of caution and readiness.
On Friday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) withdrew Montgomery, Prince George’s and six other counties from the areas covered by the state of emergency he declared Thursday. The state’s remaining 15 counties and Baltimore remained under a state of emergency.
“We are directing state resources to the counties and areas with the highest potential to need assistance,” the governor said.
Other counties removed from the declaration included Frederick and Howard.
Officials with D.C. Water said they were “closely monitoring flood-prone areas” in the city. Crews are clearing storm drains and preparing pump stations for increased flows, they said.
D.C. Water planned to distribute sandbags to customers in the flood-prone neighborhoods of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park as well as in the 900 block of P Street NW.
“Our crews will brave the elements to . . . continue to deliver our essential service,” said George S. Hawkins, the chief executive and general manager of D.C. Water.
Alexandria authorities distributed about 1,500 free sandbags, at 40 pounds each, by noon Friday. Old Town, just above the tidal Potomac, members of Volunteer Alexandria hustled bags into vehicles. They were needed as tidal flooding occurred Friday night.
“We had a huge line at 9 o’clock” when distribution began, said volunteer Ionela Lutai.
Metro beefed up maintenance crews, and air travelers were warned to check with airlines for cancellations and delays throughout the weekend.
In addition to the Howard parade, many sports events, school activities and outdoor events — including Alexandria’s Art on the Avenue, Taste of Bethesda and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s attendance at a rally in Virginia Beach — have changed start times or been canceled.
Patricia Sullivan, Josh Hicks and Jenna Portnoy contributed to this report.