Driver killed from felled tree in Md.; tornadoes, flooding reported as Isaias departs DC region

Isaias has passed out of the D.C. area, but high water and possible flooding, as well as the damage from heavy rain and winds, remain in the region.

The storm damage was worst in southern Maryland, particularly in St. Mary’s County. A driver was killed in Leonardtown when a tree fell on their car, the sheriff’s office said. A weather spotter with the National Weather Service said a tornado touched down in Leonardtown, and another possible tornado happened in the Plum Point area of Calvert County, said Chris Strong, a meteorologist with the weather service.

Forecasters are still warning of flooding in the District, Baltimore and the suburbs.

The National Weather Service said at about 1 p.m. that Rock Creek was at flood stage and “near peak,” and will recede during the afternoon, but that flooding is still a concern.

The weather service has a flood warning in effect for northwestern D.C. and southeastern Montgomery County, Maryland, until 2:30 p.m., and a coastal flood warning from 3 p.m. Tuesday until 3 a.m. Wednesday for D.C., saying, “The unprotected area on the Southwest Waterfront at
the DC Seafood Market is expected to flood.”

Thousands of people are without power.

Here’s what you need to know:

‘Tornadic activity’ in Southern Maryland

Some of the worst effects from the storms have come in St. Mary’s County, in southern Maryland. A spotter has reported that a tornado touched down in Leonardtown.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are working to get someone out of a car after a tree fell on it at Three Notch Road and Charlotte Hall School Road.

“Several local jurisdictions are reporting confirmed tornadic activity, including the lower Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland,” Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “Additional flooding, 3-6 inches of heavy rain, tidal surge and wind damage from tropical storm force winds are anticipated.”

Rain from Isaias overspread the area around midnight, like expected, but the storm is also proving a prolific tornado producer from southeastern Virginia into southern Maryland.

Intense thunderstorms spawned at least nine suspected tornadoes overnight from Southern Maryland to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Isaias is “booking it” up the East Coast at a speed of 30 to 35 mph, Storm Team 4 meteorologist Somara Theodore said, and should be near the Canadian border by the end of Wednesday. But it dumped heavy rain in much of the D.C. region and spawned numerous tornadoes from Central Virginia through Southern Maryland, including 7.67 inches in Mechanicsville, Maryland.

Gallery: Isaias hits the Washington area

Submerged roads, swollen waterways

Tropical Storm Isaias — which made landfall in North Carolina last night as a hurricane with winds near 85 mph — continues to bring a flood threat to millions along the Interstate 95 corridor.

“It is a mess out there,” Sherry Christian, of the Maryland Department of Transportation, told WTOP on Tuesday morning. There had been about 38 incidents on the roads by 9:45 a.m., including 14 in St. Mary’s County.

Though she said, “We might even have a pretty sunset,” she still urged drivers to “take precautions and heed the warnings,” because high water and winds will continue.

Maryland state troopers rescued two drivers from cars that were swept away as they tried to cross Brandywine Drive in La Plata, Maryland, on the border of Charles and Prince George’s counties. It took about 45 minutes to find one of the drivers, the police said in a statement.

Washington and Northern Virginia had seen between 2 and 4 inches of rain by 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to radar estimates, with St. Mary’s and Calvert counties in Maryland eyeing the highest totals in the region with estimates of over 6 inches.

The National Weather Service had yet to release official rainfall totals.

The St. Mary’s River topped its banks to near-historic levels, forcing a closure on Md. Route 5 in Callaway.

Historic Ellicott City, Maryland, took no chances with Isaias, still recovering from a dual volley of devastating floods in the last few years. Crews labored to remove 12 tons of debris out of streams in the watershed over the weekend in preparation for Isaias’ deluge — though WTOP’s Neal Augenstein reported the community had averted significant flooding as of Tuesday morning.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli was on the scene in Annapolis:

What’s the damage?

In Suffolk, Virginia, multiple homes were damaged by falling trees, and city officials received reports of a possible tornado. A fire station downtown sustained damage, including a broken window, and photos posted by city officials showed a pile of bricks lying next to a damaged business.

In Rockville, Maryland, Isaias’ winds brought a tree down on a moving vehicle on West Lake Drive near Tuckerman Lane. One person was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said, tweeting photos of an overturned truck:

D.C. officials were aware of at least 20 locations where trees had fallen. Crews in the District were working to direct traffic around high water on South Capitol Street and in Congress Heights.

“We’ve had them out since this morning, making sure that when we do see those trouble spots, we’re mitigating the flooding, closing roads and trying to get them reopened as quickly as possible,” said Christopher Rodriguez, director of D.C.’s emergency management agency, who added that power outages in the District have so far been low.

Thousands of outages have been observed in Northern Virginia. More than 115,000 customers are in the dark throughout the state, particularly from Richmond to Virginia Beach, who were among the first to face the brunt of Isaias in the overnight hours.

Impact on mass transit and roads

High winds stopped traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, but lanes reopened just past noon, and the MDTA dropped wind warnings at about 1:30 p.m.

In D.C., Metro is limiting some access to riders as part of its severe weather plan. The Cleveland Park Metro station was closed Tuesday, since that station’s entrances are in an area prone to flash flooding. It was supposed to be closed all day, but reopened in the early afternoon. The north entrance to King Street station in Alexandria is closed.

Riders are advised of the potential for weather-related delays and should anticipate service adjustments, though Metro said it plans to operate on a normal schedule.

VRE is operating on an S schedule. All trains marked with an “S” in addition to Fredericksburg line trains 300 and 307 are running. Manassas line train 327, which is supposed to depart from Union station at 3:45 p.m., is cancelled due to some equipment damage from striking a tree in the morning.

For the latest road and traffic conditions, see WTOP’s traffic page or listen to updates every 10 minutes online or on the air at 103.5 FM. Submit traffic tips by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk, Dan Friedell, Kristi King and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Tuesday: Continued threats of flooding. Highs in the upper 70s.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and less humid as Isaias moves north. Highs in the mid-80s.

Thursday: Sunny, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80s.

Friday: Partly cloudy, with showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Highs in the mid- to upper 80s.

Current conditions

Power outages

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