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Hanna Exits, Flooding Remains

POSTED: 6:44 am EDT September 5, 2008
UPDATED: 7:44 pm EDT September 6, 2008

Tropical Storm Hanna quickly raced through the Washington region Saturday and dumped between 4-6 inches of rain on most of the area, according to NBC4 Weather Plus meteorologist Steve Villanueva.

Hanna sailed easily over the beaches of Carolinas' coast and moved inland Saturday, blowing hard and dumping rain in eastern North Carolina but causing little damage beyond isolated flooding as it quickly headed north toward New England.

Hanna dumped heavy rain in northern Virginia, prompting evacuations, rescues and road closures as water levels rose. In Loudoun County, authorities rescued two people from a car caught in high water. Officials say multiple homes were evacuated in other counties.

Emergency officials were already looking past Hanna to powerful Hurricane Ike, several hundred miles out in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Hurricane Ike has intensified to a dangerous Category 4 storm with winds sustained at 135 mph. Winds had diminished earlier Saturday but gathered strength by 5 p.m. EDT. Ike is expected to pummel the low-lying British territory of Turks and Caicos first. The governments of the Bahamas and Cuba have issued hurricane warnings. Forecasters say the storm is likely to strengthen as it approaches southern Florida by Monday.

Villanueva said most of the rain had exited the area by 5 p.m., but mist and drizzle is still possible through the evening hours. The biggest problem is flooding, as some places received more than 6 inches of rain. Locally, Reagan National Airport recorded 3.9 inches of rain. Dulles International Airport received 5.4 inches. Springfield, Va., recorded 5.9 inches of rainfall.

Flooding will continue to be an issue the rest of the night. News4's Darcy Spencer found several areas of Virginia flooded out, including a portion of Route 1 in Woodbridge and Woodburn Road in Annandale. Remember: never drive over a water-covered road since there is no way of knowing if the road has already been washed out. "Turn around, don't drown" is the phrase to remember.

The weather will improve Saturday night as the area starts to dry out. Sunday will be pleasant, Villanueva said, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-80s.

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The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Frederick County until 8 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Carroll County until 9:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for urban areas and small streams in the District of Columbia, Arlington County, the city of Alexandria, the city of Fairfax, the city of Falls Church, the city of Manassas, the city of Manassas Park, Fairfax County, Prince William County and Stafford County until 9 p.m.

Area Crashes, Evacuations

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said three traffic deaths on Virginia roads have been linked to Hanna.

Kaine said Saturday the deaths involved two wrecks in Chesterfield County caused by heavy rain.

Overall, the governor said the state was prepared for more severe weather than Hanna delivered.

He said rainfall totals west of Interstate 95 and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains were 4 to 6 inches.

Kaine said 51,000 homes remained without power and about 80 people remained at emergency shelters as of early evening.

The governor said emergency officials already have their sights set on Hurricane Ike, which has the potential to drench western Virginia.

In Loudoun County, authorities rescued two people from a car caught in high water at Old Ox and Cedar Green roads.

In Prince William County, authorities shut down several roads because of rising water, including stretches of Route 1 and Interstate 95 south.

Fairfax County Fire is assisting with voluntary evacuations in the Huntington area of the county.

The evacuations are affecting the 2200 block of Arlington Terrace. The residents are being taken to the Huntington Community Center for the time being.

Fairfax County government spokeswoman Merni Fitzgerald says residents in Burke also evacuated their homes to an emergency shelter at South Run RECenter in Springfield. She says officials decided on the precautionary evacuation because water in nearby Lake Royal is rising.

Fitzgerald says residents can return home once the rain subsides and water levels on streets lower.

Tropical Storm Hanna forced some campers to leave Assateague Island National Seashore, but the famous wild horses weathered the storm just fine.

Ranger Christopher Seymour says the ponies know where to find sheltered spots on the barrier island off the Maryland-Virginia coast. He says some of them even sleep through big storms.

Tent campers weren't so lucky. Park managers asked them to leave their campsites in the national park as the storm blew in.

Campgrounds in the Maryland state park section of the island were closed on Friday and will reopen Sunday.

Closings, Cancellations

The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation announced that all DPR fields will be closed on Saturday.

In addition, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and DPR have postponed all Pop Warner Football games scheduled for Saturday and those games will be rescheduled for next week. All other DPR sponsored outdoor programs and games scheduled for that day are also cancelled.

The Howard-Georgetown college football game has been postponed until 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets from Saturday's game will be honored.

The St. Albans School varsity football game against Mercersberg Academy has been postponed until Sunday at 4 p.m. It was originally slotted for 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Mason District Democratic Crab Feed has been canceled. It was scheduled for 7 p.m. in Falls Church.

The D.C. Sports Commision said the Convoy for Hope event has been canceled. The event has been rescheduled for Sunday on Stadium lots 6 and 7 at 10 a.m.

The Sugarloaf Craft Festival at the Prince William Fairground shut down Saturday due to the weather. It will re-open at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Prince George's County Public Schools cancelled all school-related activities scheduled for Saturday due to the severe weather forecast. This included athletics, school registration opportunities, staff training sessions and all other scheduled activities.

Bay Bridge Warning

Maryland Transportation Authority officials say wind restrictions are now in effect on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

With sustained winds from Tropical Storm Hanna reaching 40 to 49 miles per hour late Saturday afternoon, house trailers, empty box trailers and other vehicles subject to strong winds are prohibited from crossing.

Officials are also warning of possible delays for eastbound traffic. The left lane of the eastbound span remains closed for repairs and because of the weather, there won't be two-way traffic on the westbound span.

Three lanes are open for westbound travel on the westbound span.

Charles County Emergency

A local state of emergency was declared in Charles County, which will be in effect for up to seven days, until Friday, Sept. 12, due to the emergency conditions produced by Tropical Storm Hanna.

A phone number has been established for people who may need information or non-emergency assistance during Tropical Storm Hanna. The number is 301-609-3435. For emergency situations, citizens are still asked to call 911.

The county has established a centralized shelter for residents at La Plata High School, 6035 Radio Station Road, La Plata. Any residents who desire to seek shelter should report. The shelter will operate until the county has determined that it is safe for residents to return to their homes.

Any residents who leave their homes are asked to bring their pets to the shelter with them. The county's Animal Control Division has established a temporary animal shelter at the site.

Residents who go to the shelter are asked to bring items necessary for their welfare, including sleeping bag/blanket and pillow, medications, activities for children, change of clothes, diapers, snacks and baby food.

For transportation to the shelter, special needs residents are asked to call 301-609-3435 for assistance.

Virginia Beach Crowd Returns

After Tropical Storm Hanna moved quickly through Virginia, tourists at the state's beaches began shedding their rain slickers and heading back to the boardwalk.

Dwayne Blankenship traveled from the Los Angeles area to visit his son, Bryan, who came from his Washington, D.C., home for a business trip to Virginia Beach.

The elder Blankenship pronounced the weather "great," saying the wind and rain was unlike any weather in California.

Despite gusting winds and stinging wind-blown sand on Saturday morning, some people ventured to the ocean's edge as waves of 4 to 6 feet rolled in at sharp angles. Some waded in to their ankles.

A Shriners parade at the beach scheduled for Saturday was canceled.

Maryland, Virginia Preparations

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley issued a Limited Emergency Declaration on Thursday in anticipation of the storm's impact on Maryland's Eastern Shore. He said the declaration was made in an abundance of caution.

The move provides for additional resources to emergency planners and first responders in case the storm is worse than expected. The declaration affects Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine on Thursday declared a state of emergency, which authorizes state agencies to identify and preposition resources for quick response wherever they are needed in Virginia.

Public school activities in Alexandria and Arlington have been canceled for Saturday. This includes athletics, school registration opportunities, staff training sessions and all other scheduled activities.

Metro Prepares For Hanna

Metro officials put aggressive plans into place to help prevent Saturday’s arrival of Hanna and the winds, rain and potential flooding expected to accompany it from affecting Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess service. Metro officials transported sand bags to select rail stations that have a history of flooding issues; monitored drainage pumping stations and had scheduled personnel respond to situations that occurred.

Metro’s plant maintenance staff worked to ensure the drainage areas near Metrorail stations and yards were clear to help ensure that the rain would not back up at those points.

On Thursday, Metro maintenance staff filled more than 2,500 sand bags and they were placed at stations which historically have had water flow above the curb and down escalators into the Cleveland Park, King Street, Southern Avenue, Navy Yard, Federal Triangle, Stadium-Armory, Foggy Bottom-GWU and the Largo Town Center Metrorail stations. The Smithsonian Metrorail station also occasionally has seen high water run-off from The Mall into the station via vent shafts.

Bus and rail supervisors and station managers checked to ensure that their emergency kits were ready, batteries fresh, and emergency procedures were reviewed.

Amtrak Cancels Routes

Amtrak canceled some service along the east coast on Saturday.

The following trains were cancelled with no alternate transportation provided:

  • Piedmont, trains 73 and 74 between Raleigh and Charlotte
  • Carolinian, trains 79 and 80 between New York and Charlotte
  • Palmetto, trains 89 and 90 between New York and Savannah
  • Auto Train, trains 52 and 53 between Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla.
  • Silver Meteor, trains 97 and 98 between New York and Miami

The following trains provided partial service:

  • Silver Star, trains 91 and 92 will operate between Miami and Winter Park, Fla. only
  • Northeast Regional, trains 66 and 194 will operate Washington to Boston; however, they are cancelled between Newport News and Washington
  • Northeast Regional, trains 67 and 99 will operate Boston to Washington; however, they are cancelled between Washington and Newport News
  • Northeast Regional, train 195 will operate Boston to Washington; however, it is cancelled between Washington and Richmond

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for schedule information and train status updates.

Be Prepared

Residents are urged to review their family plan to be sure information is current and up-to-date. Among the points to consider are what you would do if you and your family members were separated or if an emergency occurred while your child was at school and your were at work. More information about how to make a plan is available at online online

Residents should also prepare an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day) for at least 3 to 5 days. Medical supplies, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, along with supplies for infants or pets should also be included. For additional information about how to make a kit, click here.

A battery- or crank-powered radio will help residents stay informed in the event of electrical outrages. Information will be available on all major media outlets, and on DC Cable Channel 13 and 16. Additional information about hurricanes and protective actions you can take can be viewed by clicking here.

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