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8 inches of rain predicted for D.C. region by Friday, say weather experts

July 24, 2018

The National Weather Service said Monday that another tropical storm is barreling down on the D.C. region this week, issuing flood warnings for several areas and forecasting another 8 inches of rain between now and Friday.

The new storm follows in the wake of heavy showers on Saturday that dumped 7 inches of rain, caused car accidents, knocked out electric power, flooded homes and delayed flights.

“That was from a low pressure that developed off of North Carolina,” said weather service meteorologist Michael Muccilli. “It’s related, but it’s not the same.”

Mr. Muccilli said that low air-pressure centers carried the showers from the tropics to the East Coast this weekend. The new tropical storm is traveling up the Southeast and was predicted to deliver thunderstorms and almost 4 inches of rain overnight Monday, he said.

Temperatures were forecast to remain in the high 70s or mid-80s until Friday morning. But the National Weather Service says tropical moisture could bring another 4 inches of rain Wednesday, and even more on Thursday and Friday. Cloudy skies and thunderstorms are expected throughout the week and into the weekend.

“We’re running above normal, but we’re not breaking records,” Mr. Muccilli said of the rainfall, adding that the region has had 10.9 inches of rain above normal so far this year.

The area has received a total of 33.32 inches of rain and snow in 2018, but that’s far below the region’s record for wettest year 1889, which brought 61.33 inches of precipitation.

Still, officials are saying the already-waterlogged region will face higher chances of flooding and related damage if the rains continue.

“Given the saturated soil from this weekend’s rainfall, repetitive heavy rain may result in flash flooding,” the National Weather Service said in a flash flood warning effective until late Tuesday.

The flood alert was issued for the District and Baltimore, as well as the Maryland counties of Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Charles, Carroll, Calvert, Harford and St. Mary’s. A coastal flood advisory also was issued for Anne Arundel County, as tidal departure was forecast to be 1.5 to 2 feet above normal until Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for Baltimore Gas Electric (BGE) said the weekend storm knocked out power to 32,491 customers. By late afternoon Monday, 1,333 customers still had no electricity.

In the District, Pepco said 100 customers were still without power, after 6,300 customers had lost electric service between Sunday and Monday.

Dominion Energy said power had been restored by Monday afternoon to nearly all of its 39,911 customers who had lost power in Virginia.

Meanwhile, D.C. Water said that 41 of its catch basins were clogged with debris during the weekend rains and that crews had fixed about half of them by Monday night. The agency also issued warnings about scammers posing as D.C. Water workers to gain access to people’s houses and personal information during the storm.

“Be vigilant. Don’t give your information away,” said spokeswoman Pamela Mooring. “We’re only going to take financial information if you initiate the transaction, if you call us or go on the website.”

D.C. residents can find out if someone at their door is a D.C. Water employee by asking to see an official ID badge, and checking for the D.C. Water logo on the hat, shirt and truck. People who see scammers are encouraged to report them to the utility, and call 911 if they feel unsafe.

D.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lauren Stephens noted that northbound Interstate 295 twice over the weekend.

“We encourage drivers to avoid standing water and report any sightings of downed trees or any other road hazards to 311,” she said.

DDOT and D.C. police recommend that drivers avoid flooded roadways and keep their headlights on.

The rain was forecast to ease up Thursday afternoon, but the National Weather Service predicts a high chance of scattered showers until next Monday.

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