Motorists, residents trapped in flash floods

Motorists, residents trapped in flash floods

Rising water sent fire officials scrambling to rescue motorists and residents trapped by quick moving flash floods as heavy rain continued to fall across the region yesterday evening. 
Seven buildings on the 600 block of S. Pickett St. sustained damage and multiple vehicles were moved after the water from Cameron Run washed over the neighborhood about 6:25 p.m., officials said. About 10 residents took shelter inside at least one building as they waited for the water to recede just after 9 p.m.
Twenty-five minutes after flooding was reported on South Pickett Street, Cameron Run spilled over its banks along Eisenhower Avenue. About 30 individuals were caught in the flash flood, later rescued from vehicles and buildings by city firefighters working with swift water rescue teams from Loudoun and Prince Georges County. 

Alexandria’s first responders don’t have the same training as their counterparts from Loudoun and Maryland, said Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez. 

“It’s different in flood water as opposed to swift water,” he said, describing the quickly moving flash flood, reaching several feet in depth as first responders rescued stranded motorists. “Flood water is stationary, the water is very calm… Here we had rapidly rising and moving water.”

Some motorists were forced to climb out of their windows or sunroofs as they awaited rescue, Rodriguez said. The swiftly moving water rose knee high in a few spots, he said. 
Several automobiles left on the 2800 and 2900 blocks and in nearby parking lots were damaged by the rising water. Even after the water receded, police and fire officials asked nearby residents to voluntarily evacuate for the evening. 
There were no injuries or hospitalizations from the flooding at either location, officials said. The cost of damage has not yet been determined, though city inspectors are reviewing the sites this morning. 

Alexandria remains under a flash flood warning through Friday and Acting City Manager Bruce Johnson has declared a local state of emergency in the wake of the deluge. While City Hall is open, unscheduled leave is in effect for nonessential municipal employees.

With more rain forecast for Friday, officials urge residents to use caution on low-lying areas and roads.