COPY-The Latest: Mid-Atlantic braces for flooding, high winds - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

COPY-The Latest: Mid-Atlantic braces for flooding, high winds

Posted: Updated:
By The Associated Press

The latest on expected torrential rains over the coming days, possible brush with Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN').

5 p.m.

Officials in Ocean City, Maryland, say moderate to severe tidal flooding will continue in the resort community through Monday.

Spokeswoman Jessica Waters says low-lying areas in the city of about 8,000 year-round residents were inwith nearly five feet of water during the Friday afternoon high tide.

The flooding prompted a temporary outage to about 635 Delmarva Power customers to protect electrical equipment. Waters says many of those homes are vacant vacation properties.

The weather prompted cancellation of a surf-fishing tournament and the Offshore Powerboat Association national championships.

But it didn't deter a large number of Volkswagen tuner car enthusiasts from a weekend car show at nearby private campground. They are cruising Coastal Highway in blustery, 25 mph winds and light rain.

Waters says extra police officers were contracted for the weekend events.

4:30 p.m.

Delaware transportation officials have closed part of a major coastal road because of flooding.

Officials say high water has forced the closing of State Route 1 northbound and southbound between Bethany and Dewey Beach, including the bridge over the Indian River Inlet.

Northbound motorists have been advised to detour onto Route 26 westbound, then to U.S. Route 113 northbound onto Route 24 eastbound, returning to Route 1.

The detour for southbound motorists is Route 24 westbound onto U.S. Route 113 southbound, to Route 26 eastbound and back to Route 1.

Officials say several other roads in Kent and Sussex counties also have been closed because of flooding.

4 p.m.

Delmarva Power has disconnected power to areas of Ocean City, Maryland, because of storm surged flooding that submerged some of its electrical infrastructure.

Officials say the service interruption involves about 635 customers in the area south of North Division Street and Baltimore Avenue, and that the power will remain disconnected until it is safe to re-energize the equipment.

Utility officials also warn that they may need to cut off power to facilities in other coastal communities in Maryland and Delaware if flooding occurs, and that restoration of service will depend on how quickly the water recedes from affected areas.

3:50 p.m.

Officials in Washington were handing out sandbags to residents of flood-prone areas. John Lisle, a spokesman for DC Water, which was handing out the sandbags to residents of the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods, said that as of Friday afternoon they'd given away about 200 sandbags to about 50 residents.

Katherine Flannigan, 24, picked up four sandbags. She said she and a roommate live in a basement apartment, so the sandbags were for f their front and back doors. Flannigan said they planned to stay in out of the rain and drink wine.

"Hopefully the storm isn't going to be as bad as they thought it would be," she said.

Flannigan, who works for a nonprofit and was telecommuting on Friday, said the storm had altered her weekend plans. She had planned to run in a race in the city. The race's website said Friday it was being postponed because of rain and flooding.

3:30 p.m.

The Delaware National Guard says personnel and vehicles are ready to provide support during Hurricane Joaquin.

The Guard said in a news release that vehicles and drivers are stationed at its Georgetown Readiness Center and Kent County Emergency Operations Center.

About 20 Soldiers and Airmen are on duty and another 100 on standby.

The Delaware National Guard Joint Emergency Operations Center will be staffed around the clock until the event is complete.

2:25 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has rescinded a state of emergency for eight counties, as Hurricane Joaquin is veering more out to sea.

Hogan rescinded the state of emergency for Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery, Howard and Prince George's counties on Friday. Maryland's other 15 counties and the city of Baltimore remain under a state of emergency until further notice.

The governor issued the state of emergency as a precaution on Thursday.

Hogan says with the storm moving away from the coast, Maryland is directing state resources to the counties and areas with the highest potential to need assistance.

12:30 p.m.

Assateague State Park Ranger Adam Stachowiak said he's "sandblasted and soaking wet" as staffers prepare the park for stormy weather.

With a storm surge, Stachowiak said the ocean reached the base of the dune on the barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean by midday Friday, water was above the platform at the marina and sand had blown into the campground. The wind was steady at about 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. He says they've already lost a few signs to the wind.

Workers have cut power to facilities at the park and removed or secured anything that might blow or float away. Officials closed the day use area Friday morning, instead of waiting until noon as originally planned, helping to minimize risks for visitors while workers focus on preparations.

During big storms, Stachowiak says the island's famous ponies hunker down in thicker forested areas on the bay side and circle up tight together.

With forecasters expecting Hurricane Joaquin to head further east than before, they're expecting the next 24 hours to be the worst, but they are getting ready for several days of storms.

Stachowiak says, "We're planning for the worst so we don't feel like there's more we could have done."

Noon

Gov. Jack Markell has declared a limited state of emergency as Delaware braced for coastal flooding and high winds from the nor'easterlike storm.

Moderate to major coastal flooding was expected at high tides Friday and Saturday, with high wind warnings along the Delaware coast.

State offices are remaining open and no driving restrictions have been implemented, but officials are advising residents of flood-prone areas to consider taking precautions, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for evacuation.

Officials are taking steps to prepare for possible evacuations and road closures and say the National Guard has been deployed to Kent and Sussex counties to support those efforts, as needed.

Transportation officials say high water closed Prime Hook Road, Front Street in Milford and River Road in Oak Orchard on Friday morning.

11:15 a.m.

Heavy rains have the city of Alexandria in preparation mode for flooding in the notoriously flood prone Old Town section of the city.

High tide on that part of the Potomac is expected at 1 a.m. Saturday, and forecasts call for the river to crest at 4.4 feet.

Yon Lambert, director of the city's Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, says that's high enough to flood the intersection of King and Union streets, something that can happen a few times a year.

The city distributes sandbags to residents when forecasts call for a crest of higher than four feet.

Lambert says additional precautions would be triggered if forecasts called for a crest of five or six feet. But with Hurricane Joaquin expected to turn out to sea, the worst-case scenario of a one-two punch of storms appeared to be minimal.

Alexandria residents lined up in their cars a block deep on Lee Street in the city's Old Town section to pick up free sandbags in preparation for a storm expected to drop several inches of rain on the region.

The primary concern is coastal flooding on the shore of the Potomac River, but many residents at slightly higher elevations are concerned about flash flooding.

Essie Tarpley lives in the city's Del Ray section, and has learned over the years what she needs to do to keep her basement dry.

She says it's important to keep water out of the alley because if it collects in the alley, they'll be standing in a foot of water in the basement.

11 a.m.

Organizers of the 46th annual United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, say it's on schedule for next weekend, despite some early concerns about Hurricane Joaquin.

Organizers said Friday "all systems are go." The show is set for Oct. 8 through Oct. 12. Organizers cited forecasts indicating the hurricane would likely stay out at sea.

Floating docks, temporary pilings and infrastructure for the show by the Annapolis City Dock were moved in several days earlier than usual, in anticipation of the storm.

Organizers say the first boats are encouraged to move in on Sunday. They say pile driving is set for Monday morning, as scheduled, and all boats are expected to arrive on schedule.

10:45 a.m.

Officials in Washington are distributing sandbags to residents of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park, which are flood-prone areas of the city.

D.C. Water officials said Friday that residents of those neighborhoods can pick up sand bags Friday in preparation for severe weekend weather and the potential impact from Hurricane Joaquin. The bags are being distributed at First Street and Rhode Island Avenue northwest. Residents in the 900 block of P Street NW, which is also prone to flooding, can also get sandbags.

Officials say residents picking up sand bags may be asked to show proof of residency at the distribution site.

D.C. Water says it has staged backup generators at the three most important stormwater pump stations in the city.

10:30 a.m.

Officials in Montgomery County are putting additional boat and rescue teams and crews in service ahead of expected rain and potential flash flooding.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said Friday that four additional boat teams will be staged at fire stations around the county. Those teams will be staged at fire stations in: Aspen Hill, Darnestown, Travilah and Germantown.

That's in addition to swift water rescue teams and other water rescue personnel that are on call every day.

10 a.m.

City officials in Maryland's waterside capital are scheduled to meet to talk about storm preparations for the weekend.

So far, a spokeswoman for the city says minor flooding could happen around the Annapolis City Dock on Friday. She says Hurricane Joaquin could pack an added punch.

Rhonda Wardlaw says the city has been monitoring the weather for the past two days. She says the heaviest rainfall now is expected at low tide, which she says is good news.

She says city officials are expected to decide at a meeting Friday morning about preparations such as making sandbags available downtown.

Wardlaw says the city is really focusing on two storms, working on one while projecting for another.

9:45 a.m.

Maryland parks officials say conditions are rough at Assateague State Park as a storm brings high winds and heavy rain to the region.

Park officials closed the day use area Friday morning, instead of waiting until noon as originally planned. In social media postings, parks officials say they're seeing flooding, winds and storm surge and anticipating high tides. Park staffers are continuing to prepare for the storm.

The park is on Assateague Island, a barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean known for its wild ponies.

Officials say Point Lookout State Park Fishing Pier also closed until Wednesday due to high winds.

9:30 a.m.

Baltimore officials say the city is ready for whatever the weather brings, but they're calling on residents to prepare themselves too.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference Friday morning that the city is making sandbags available to residents and opening two shelters in case people have to be relocated. Officials say they've prepositioned water rescue teams around the city and reminded motorists to avoid driving into standing water.

Because of Joaquin's change in track, officials are ending the sandbag distribution at 5 p.m.

Emergency Management Director Robert Maloney warned that storms are unpredictable. While the current prediction may be more favorable for the city than it was a day ago, "now is not the time to celebrate because it could shift."

Officials called on residents to have storm readiness kits ready with water, food and flashlights and to clear drains around their homes.

9 a.m.

Officials in the District of Columbia have decided against activating the city's Emergency Operations Center for now as Hurricane Joaquin appears to be tracking farther away from the East Coast than originally predicted.

A spokeswoman for the District's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said Friday morning that the city had initially planned to activate its Emergency Operations Center at 4 p.m. But, after the track of the storm continued to move east, officials decided against ramping up their efforts and will instead continue to monitor the storm.

Spokeswoman Nicole Chapple says officials have taken significant steps to prepare, including clearing catch basins. But she says at this point officials don't feel activating the Emergency Operations Center is necessary.

7:30 a.m.

With more rain in the forecast, the mid-Atlantic region is bracing for flooding and high winds.

The National Weather Service has issued flash flood watches for Washington, northern Virginia, central and southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, but the timeline has been scaled back to Saturday morning. The weather service now says heavy rain is no longer expected during the day Saturday.

The region has already received several inches of rain in the last few days and meteorologist Matt Elliott says the region will see steady rain Friday with about 2 inches expected in the Washington area and about 1 ½ inch in the Baltimore area.

Coastal flood warnings and advisories are in effect during the same period in central and southern Delaware and on the Eastern Shore.

Gale force winds are expected over parts of the Chesapeake Bay and may continue into Sunday.

The weather service says Hurricane Joaquin will most likely pass East of the region late in the weekend and early next week.

2:15 a.m.

The National Park Service is closing turf fields and canceling events around the Washington area as the region prepares for heavy rainfall and the possible arrival of Hurricane Joaquin.

The park service says people wondering about specific events on Friday or over the weekend should reach out to organizers. Many events have already been canceled.

Meanwhile, park rangers and U.S. Park Police are clearing storm drains, setting up flood barriers and doing other prep work for major rainfall. Some fountains on parkland are being turned off.

The storm could provide the first test for a new levee that's meant to protect downtown Washington from a flooded Tidal Basin. The levee is on 17th Street on the National Mall.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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