Parts of the nation’s capital were underwater on Friday night and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for counties affected by severe weather, as the National Weather Service warned that the mid-Atlantic region could see one of the biggest tidal floods in a decade or two as heavy rain and winds pummeled the region.
The weather service said some areas could get the worst tidal flooding that they’ve seen since Hurricane Isabel in 2003 on Saturday as strong and persistent winds push water into the Chesapeake Bay. Several public school systems in Maryland were closed on Friday.
Hogan issued the state of emergency for areas of Maryland along the shores of the bay, the Potomac River and the Atlantic Coast currently under a coastal flood warning.
Rising water covers up stairs along the Tidal Basin after heavy rains caused tidal flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region in Washington, DC on Friday
The Potomac River in Washington DC appeared to burst its banks in some areas on Friday
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 29: Rising water covers a walkway along the Tidal Basin after heavy rains caused flooding
A group of people take photos with their phones as flood waters rise in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. The US National Weather Service implemented a flood watch for the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis as well as Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties. Washington, DC, and parts of Virginia faced the same alert
A tree is partially submerged in the Potomac River. A storm system with gusty winds and heavy rain is bringing significant coastal and tidal flooding to Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland
‘Even if you are accustomed to nuisance flooding, this is much more serious and has the potential to be much more damaging over the course of the next 24 hours,’ Hogan said early on Friday evening. ‘We are taking this action to bring all necessary state resources to bear, and assist local jurisdictions in their response efforts.’
The state of emergency declaration includes Baltimore City and the following counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester.
The governor urged Maryland residents and visitors to monitor weather forecasts and remain on alert as heavy rains, moderate to major flooding, and hazardous winds affect portions of the state Friday through Sunday.
‘One of the biggest tidal flood events of the past 10-20 years (possibly since Hurricane Isabel at some locales), is expected Friday & Saturday. Those along tidal shores should get ready for exceptional tidal inundation!’ the NWS tweeted.
Isabel struck the area in 2003, which caused $945m of damage in Maryland and Washington and killed one person.
The forecast for Saturday’s powerful storm was set to drench parts of eastern US with heavy rain, winds and coastal flooding
Strong easterly winds are set to make the effects of flooding even worse as the gusts drive water ashore in low-lying areas
Weather forecasts show peak flood stages from the National Weather Service, color-coded by severity, through Saturday
The breadth of the storm was clearly visibly in images taken from a weather satellite in space
The local National Weather Service for Baltimore and Washington DC called the impending flooding one of the biggest in over two decades in a tweet
The NWS on Friday night said most of the rain had passed but there was now a serious risk of tidal and coastal flooding
The levels along the Potomac River and shores of Chesapeake Bay were expected to rise causing moderate flooding almost 6 feet above normal
Konrad Karandy of Annapolis, Maryland., puts sandbags in front of a restaurant in downtown Annapolis as the water from tidal flooding rises
A group of people wade through flood waters in downtown Annapolis, Maryland
The Japanese Pagoda statue is partially submerged as water rises along the Tidal Basin after heavy rains caused tidal flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region in Washington, DC
A woman reacts as she walks through a flooded street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, on Friday
The bar manager at the Union Street pub speaks to Keith Harmon (L) and Heidi DeuPree, as he takes an order while they paddle through flood water in a canoe in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Keith Harmon (back) and Heidi DeuPree paddle through flood water in a canoe in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
A police officer pulls a potted plant across a flooded street near a bar in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
People watch a man walk through a flooded street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
A woman reacts as she walks through a flooded street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Flooding from heavy rain hit parts of the US East Coast, particularly the area around Washington, with potential for some of the worst damage in decades
The bar manager at the Union Street pub hands a drink to Keith Harmon (L) and Heidi DeuPree as they paddle through flood water in a canoe in Old Town Alexandria
A bicyclist trudges through knee-high flooding in downtown Annapolis on Friday. The city is anticipating potential historic flooding conditions in low-lying areas
A man rides a bicycle through flood waters in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, October 29
A group of people, pictured, wade through flood waters in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday
The agency reports that more than 20 million people are currently under a weather alert, as two-to-four feet of coastal flooding is expected to hit Baltimore and the nation’s capital.
On Friday morning, water flooded streets near City Dock in downtown Annapolis. One man filmed was filmed kayaking through a flooded parking lot.
‘The rain is coming in a lot right now,’ said Leslie Butler, who had come to Annapolis for the day with her children and paused near City Dock during their visit. ‘It’s crazy high flood waters. I’ve never seen this before.’
Businesses in the area could be seen placing sandbags on Friday afternoon in an effort to protect their properties from flood damage.
Mission BBQ in Annapolis manager Konrad Karandy was one of those businesses who took advantage of the sandbags as he prepared for flooding and extreme weather conditions.
‘We’re prepping for the worst. My personal guess is four feet (of water), something like that,’ Karandy told the news outlet.
A pair of friends appeared to be enjoying the extreme weather in Annapolis, but forecasters say conditions are dangerous
Astreet by the City Dock of Annapolis, Maryland is flooded near high tide on Friday
Chase Sutton, pictured, of Annapolis, Maryland kayaks over a street in downtown Annapolis Friday
A woman attempts to move her parked car from flooded Union Street as tidal flooding coincides with a powerful storm in downtown Alexandria, Virginia on Friday
The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management warned people to prepare for the possibility of extended road closures through the weekend. In Baltimore, officials offered residents sandbags and warned them to move vehicles from low-lying areas.
The flooding could affect all tidal shores in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia, the weather service said.
Water levels were already elevated Thursday evening, but high tides are expected to be the highest from Friday night until high tide Saturday morning.
Several counties are already under wind advisories, with gusts predicted to reach upwards of 60 mph.
‘Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles,’ the local NWS said.
Christopher Rodriguez, director for Washington DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management, warned businesses in the area to have their flood insurance documents handy in preparation for what could amount to expensive and devastating damages.
‘We want to make sure that our businesses that are along those coastal areas of our region, in particular our city, make sure you know where your insurance papers are, because flood insurance is going to be really helpful as we recover from this event over the next 48 hours,’ Rodriguez told WJZ-TV.
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, pictured, located at the City Dock in historic Annapolis Maryland is surrounded by water from tidal flooding
A group of people walk on the sea wall as a man kayaks through the flooded parking lot in downtown Annapolis
Jay Fleming, pictured, kayaks as he surveys the flooding in Annapolis, Friday, with city anticipating potential historic tidal flooding conditions