Heavy rains in Washington, White House basement flooded
A slow-moving rainstorm on July 8 washed out roads, stranded drivers and soaked basements, including the White House’s, during a chaotic morning commute in Washington, U.S. Water gushed into the press workspace in the basement near the White House’s West Wing and Government employees worked to drain puddles of standing water.
Flooding led to electrical outages that closed the National Archives Building and Museum, according to a statement from the National Archives, which said the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were safe and not in any danger.
National Weather Service meteorologist Cody Ledbetter said the storm dumped about 6.3 inches of rain near Frederick, Maryland, about 4.5 inches near Arlington, Virginia, and about 3.4 inches at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in a two-hour period. “The storm was not moving very quickly,” Ledbetter said.
Water levels at Cameron Run in Alexandria, Virginia, a flood-prone area along the Capital Beltway, rose more than 7 feet over 30 minutes after 9 a.m., according to the weather service.
Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the fire department in Montgomery County, Maryland, said emergency workers responded to dozens of rescue calls and used boats to pluck people from flooded cars. “Everywhere I turned, there was traffic and roads closed,” he said.
In northern Virginia, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said it responded to more than 30 calls for swift water rescues throughout the county. Authorities advised people to avoid driving if possible.