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Flooding Hits Leesburg, Western Loudoun

Rainstorm closes Loudoun roads, causes floodings.

A rainstorm the night of Sept. 22 flooded several roadways in Loudoun, washed out a major Goose Creek bridge and led to the two-day closing of Route 15.

The National Weather Service (NWS) began receiving reports at 2 a.m. Sept. 23 of flooding occurring from Bluemont to the west and a half-hour later of flooding in Leesburg, said Calvin Meadows, hydro-meteorological technician for NWS. The storm developed as a funnel system moving in a northerly direction triggered rain from the moisture left over by Tropical Storm Isabel.

As it moved, the storm dumped nearly 6 inches of rain on Leesburg, 4.4 inches in Lincoln and 1.7 inches in Dulles, according to volunteer weather observers who reported in to the NWS. The rainfall caused flooding and high standing water on several roadways in Loudoun, mostly on secondary roads in the west and the gravel portion of Loudoun County Parkway between Route 7 and Waxpool Road in the east.

"Leesburg seemed to be the center that got hit the hardest," said Kraig Troxell, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office adding that in western Loudoun, several roads cross creeks that contributed to the flooding of those roadways.

The storm led to 24 road closings on Tuesday, including Gilbert's Corner and Routes 15 and 50. Nine of the roads remained closed on the next day, including Route 15 between Leesburg and Route 50. The flooding took out large chunks of asphalt from a bridge along Route 15 at Goose Creek. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) was on site Wednesday to clear the debris from the area.

Goose Creek crested at 8 p.m. Tuesday and by 12 p.m. Wednesday, Route 15 reopened.

THE SHERIFF'S Office responded to 52 calls late Monday and Tuesday for roadways blocked by water and in some cases by trees. The Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to 141 calls from 12 a.m. to 6:25 p.m. on Tuesday, with 100 of the calls directly related to the storm for fallen trees and power lines and flooded basements in the Leesburg area and to the west.

"By that evening, things slowed down considerably," said Mary Maguire, public information officer for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

On Tuesday, Fire and Rescue Services conducted seven water rescues. In one, fire and rescue personnel rescued six people by boat who were staying in two homes on Oatland Mills Road that were isolated by the rising water of Goose Creek, which had hit their property line. The personnel removed them by boat. They also rescued several people from three stranded cars.

Maintenance staff for the public schools prepared for Hurricane Isabel and incidentally the storm on Sept. 17 by cleaning gutters and removing debris from the roofs and school grounds at the county's 61 schools. "We basically checked all of our buildings top to bottom," said Wayde Byard, school press officer. "We had no water problems. ... We had no safety problems. Our buildings came through fine."

The district opened schools two hours later on Tuesday and one hour late on Wednesday, returning to regular schedules on Thursday. Some buses had to be rerouted due to road closings.