Storms Batter Arlington

Storms Batter Arlington

Arlington was hit hard by the thunderstorm system that rolled through the region on Sunday and Monday, with flooded streets, damaged community centers and devastated parks.

Reagan National Airport recorded nearly eight inches of rain during that span, one of the highest totals in the region.

Fire and police teams responded to 580 calls on Sunday and Monday, and one man suffered burns and smoke inhalation during a house fire that was cause by the storm, said county spokeswoman Mary Curtius.

Flooding shut down some of the county's busiest roads for Monday's rush hour commute, including Washington Boulevard between Columbia Pike and Route 50, Washington Boulevard and I-395 and the Reagan National Airport exit on the George Washington Parkway.

A portion of Kenmore Street at 24th Road South caved-in because of a failed storm drain. On Sunday evening a car had to be rescued from the sinkhole, and 15 households temporarily lost water service.

A second storm drain failed on South George Mason Drive near 12th Street South.

"We have seen flooding in areas we've never seen flooding in before," said Steve Holl, deputy director of the Office of Emergency Management. "No one can remember this degree of precipitation or flooding."

Police officers rescued dozens of residents who were stranded in their cars because of the deep water. On Sunday evening officers helped people vacate eight to ten cars that were stuck on Route 110 near Memorial Bridge, Police Spokesman Matt Martin said.

Metro service on both the Orange and Blue Lines was delayed throughout the day Monday.

Arlington first activated its Emergency Operations Center at 11 p.m. Sunday evening, and representatives from half a dozen agencies helped coordinate the county's response.

Nineteen roads were blocked by fallen trees, and numerous manhole covers were swept away by fast-moving water, county officials said.

Arlington parks suffered significant damage, as the heavy rains caused soil erosion, impaired bridges and pushed picnic tables and parts of bridges into adjacent streams.

A Donaldson Run Park trail washed away during the storm, and pedestrian bridges were marred in Glen Carlyn and Lubber Run parks. Two new athletic fields in Barcroft Park suffered severe damage.

COUNTY OFFICIALS said they were surprised by the strength and power of the storm system, which additionally caused flooding at Drew and Walter Reed community centers.

"I've been with the county eight years, and other than the hurricane, I've never seen anything like it," said Steve Tammerman, the division chief of parks and natural resources.

Yet emergency management officials expressed relief that the storm did not leave greater destruction in its wake.

"The only really serious event was the sinkhole" at South Kenmore Street, Holl said. Though he is "sure that there are a lot of flooded basements.