The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The torrential rainfall rates that turned the Cleveland Park Metro stop into a waterfall

Surveillance video shows flood waters accumulating inside the Cleveland Park Metro station in Northwest Washington on June 21 during severe storms. (Video: WMATA)
Placeholder while article actions load

The storms began about 2 p.m. Tuesday in the D.C. region and continued for more than six hours. During the evening commute, District streets turned into rivers. Cars were slicing through the waves. It rained so hard that water poured down off the flooded streets and into the Metro station at Cleveland Park.

The Washington Post’s Faiz Siddiqui spoke with Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly, who said that “the station is prone to flooding because it is at the bottom of a hill.” The Red Line trains bypassed the Cleveland Park station during the flooding, and the station was closed for nearly two hours until the water could drain.

Former National Weather Service climatologist Bob Leffler told The Post that he experienced seven distinct periods of thunder through 10 p.m. in Damascus, Md., which broke his location’s previous record of five thunderstorms. He recorded 3.38 inches of rain on Tuesday. Leffler has been recording and reporting weather in Damascus for 45 years.

Metro released video showing flooding at the Cleveland Park station in Northwest Washington during a severe storm in D.C. on June 21. (Video: WMATA)

D.C. area raked by multiple rounds of storms; tornado tears through Howard County

In Petworth, a personal weather station reported rainfall rates of more than four inches per hour — meaning that if it had continued to rain at that clip for one hour, more than four inches of rain would have accumulated. The Petworth station recorded three periods of heavy rainfall — the first came at about 2 p.m., then another wave hit the station in the 3 o’clock hour followed by the “big one” at 6 p.m.

At a personal weather station in Bethesda, rainfall rates spiked to more than two inches per hour about 3 p.m., and then shot up again to 1.3 inches per hour at 6 p.m.

About one inch of rain fell at Reagan National Airport and Baltimore-Washington Marshall International Aiport on Tuesday, but Washington Dulles International Airport reported 1.63 inches through midnight. The majority of the personal weather stations on the Weather Underground network reported rainfall totals of more than one inch.

Radar-estimated rainfall shows the northern and eastern suburbs in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties received the most rainfall. Areas around Germantown, Aspen Hill and Bowie racked up over two inches in Tuesday’s storms.

Loading...