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Water rescues underway as flash floods slam D.C. area

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 8/10/2022 Thomas Leffler

Travel across the Washington, D.C., area became chaotic Wednesday as flash flooding quickly rose water to disastrous levels, prompting numerous water rescues.

Flash flood warnings were issued for the nation's capital, as well as surrounding cities such as Arlington, Virginia and Silver Spring, Maryland, through 8 p.m. EDT. Rain began to come down in mass amounts around 4 p.m. both in D.C. and north of Lexington, Virginia, where precipitation rates were read at more than four inches per hour.

High water levels quickly encompassed Washington, D.C., proper, including on Rhode Island Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, creating havoc for drivers in the city. Local commuters taking public transportation were not immune from rainfall, as water began to seep into local Metro trains:

Another video captured water falling from the ceiling at the Capitol South Station of the D.C. Metro service.

North of the city in Greenbelt, Maryland, lanes of the Beltway Outer Loop remained flooded into the evening commute, blocked by stalled vehicles:

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The harrowing scene has elicited water rescue responses, including a report of up to 10 automobiles stuck in high water on I-95, with one noted as being fully submerged on the Capital Beltway. One person in the incident on the interstate has been successfully rescued thus far.

Inside of a Greenbelt abode, two people were rescued from inside a basement, with firefighters checking for other occupants of the household.


While ground travel has been severely hampered, air travel is taking on its own challenges in the D.C. area. Due to the thunderstorms, arriving flight delays averaged nearly five hours into Wednesday evening at Reagan National Airport. According to FlightAware, nearly 100 arriving flights at Reagan National have already been canceled Wednesday.

Adding to the frightening scene in D.C. were lightning strikes captured on the city's Washington Monument EarthCam, showing off the eerie conditions the area faced late in the afternoon.

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The source of the ongoing rainfall is a slow-moving cold front, which remains a factor across the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast, including the I-95 corridor encompassing Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

Other cities that could experience flooding or weather-related travel delays through Wednesday night include NashvilleCharleston, West Virginia, and Richmond, Virginia.

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