Heavy rains caused flooding, road closures and property damage in the Washington region Sunday as a seemingly never-ending stretch of precipitation continued to drown the capital area.
In the District, saturation of the soil caused at least three large trees to fall, including one that crashed through the roof of a home along Texas Avenue SE. No one was injured, authorities said. Broad Branch Road had to be shut down between 27th and Davenport streets NW after it was submerged in water. And photos posted on social media showed water gushing down Rock Creek Parkway near the Watergate.
In Maryland, cleanup operations were suspended in Ellicott City, where a flash flood swept through the town’s historic Main Street last week, killing a man and damaging homes and businesses. Traffic on the Capital Beltway in Maryland was slowed for miles after several feet of water covered part of the road near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. President Trump, who spent the weekend at Camp David, returned to the White House by motorcade because of the heavy rain, according to a press pool report.
Virginia also was hit hard, with streets — and stretches of some major roads — closed because of standing water. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said Lime Kiln Road was closed near Steptoe Hill Road; officials shared photos of a street overrun with murky water. The flooding closed stretches of at least two roads in Fairfax County — Burke Lake Road in Burke and Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield.
Alexandria, prone to flooding, was spared, according to a fire department spokeswoman.
In the Clinton area of Prince George’s County, a person was killed in a car crash along Branch Avenue about 3 p.m. Sunday, but Maryland State Police said Sunday night that the crash did not appear to be weather-related.
Sunday’s storms dropped at least 1½ inches of rain and capped a brutal four-week stretch during which Washington recorded more than 10 inches of rainfall, 8.73 inches of it in May, according to Jason Samenow, chief meteorologist for The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. That’s more than double the average of 3.99 inches during what is typically the wettest month, he said. It was the sixth-rainiest May on record in Washington.
“We’ve been in a situation where we’ve had pretty persistent flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico since early to mid-May,” Samenow said.
The good news: Relief is in sight, he said. The rain “should start to taper off tonight,” Samenow said. “And I think tomorrow’s looking pretty good — sunshine and in the 70s.”
In the Texas Avenue incident, a tree crashed through the roof of a house and into the second floor, according to Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department. Another tree fell in Georgetown, near 36th and O streets NW, damaging two cars, he said. The third, also in Northwest, felled a power line.
Besides downed trees, Maggiolo said, rains over the past few weeks have led to standing water on streets and increased risk of transformer fires.
In Ellicott City, the rain came as residents tried to continue cleanup efforts from last week’s flooding. “It was just kind of miserable for folks down there,” said Mark Miller, a spokesman for the Howard County government.
Since the May 27 flood, officials have limited access to Ellicott City’s Main Street. Residents and merchants have been allowed back in to clean, repair and “muck out” their businesses, Miller said. Starting about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, a heavy band of rain pounded the area for about 45 minutes, he said. Then, with more rain expected and lightning in the vicinity, officials decided about 1:30 p.m. to shut down the area, Miller said.
There was never a risk of more flooding Sunday, Miller said. It was just that the rains were making a difficult, muddy job that much more difficult.
Miller said many business owners in the area, which was also hit by floods two years ago, seemed to be trying to stay positive. “They are a very resilient community,” he said. “They showed it in 2016, and they’re showing it again.”
At the Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring, General Manager Dave DeGirolamo said that only a handful of golfers braved the weather Sunday. Several who teed off early at the nine-hole course got their round in. A twosome that started about 9:30 a.m. in the drizzle, though, made it only six holes before coming in.
“It looked like they just climbed out of a swimming pool,” DeGirolamo said. “They said they’d try it again over the next few days.”
He said he has been in the golf business for 30 years in Maryland and has never seen a worse combination of rain and cold in a spring.
“It’s been a frustrating start to the season,” he said. “I can’t remember weather like this. There’s a river going down the left side of the first fairway.”
The worse the weather, the more golfers want to play, especially after being penned up all winter. “People really want to play,” DeGirolamo said. “They want to scratch their itch, and we can’t help them.”
The public course, which sells food and beer, also serves as a social gathering spot. “It’s kind of like a cross between ‘Green Acres’ and ‘Cheers,’ ” DeGirolamo said referring to old TV comedies.
But no one wants to come hang out if there’s no golf. “We’ll be shutting down shortly for the day,” he said about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Two hours later, though the rain had tapered, he was still there, waiting inside, because the roads out of the course were closed because of high water. “We’re high and dry,” he said. “But we’re still here.”