Storms sweep region, business owner frustrated by flooding

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An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a flood cleanup crew left District Dogs on Wednesday night and that the crew had also been there on Friday. The cleanup crew was there Wednesday night and had also been there Wednesday morning to clean up the flooding on Friday. The article has been corrected.”

As the sky poured down rain in Northeast Washington Wednesday afternoon, Jacob Hensley, owner of District Dogs day care, checked the security cameras of his shop on Rhode Island Avenue.

“There are waves of water crashing into the building,” Hensley said. I’m like, ‘Matt, here we go again.’ “

For the third time in less than a month, Hensley’s storefront would be under water. When the day care starts to overflow, Hensley said, the dogs are sent to higher ground and staff members go into “damage control mode,” removing things from the floor that could be damaged.

“They’ve been telling us that these are like once-in-a-generation or once-a-year floods, but three times in four weeks?” Hensley said. “I do not think so.”

The flooding at Hensley’s business was part of a storm system that swept through the District, Maryland and Virginia Wednesday afternoon and evening, flooding roads and causing miles-long delays in the evening commute, according to authorities.

In the District, DC Fire and EMS rescued a woman whose car was stuck in high water about 5:06 p.m. in the 600 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE, said Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the DC Fire Department. The resident, a woman, had climbed onto the roof of her car, where rescuers removed her. She was unharmed.

On the same block, Hensley said, there was at least a three-foot wall outside his facility and two to three inches of water inside. Flood bags were in place, but “our building is not built like a ship,” Hensley said. “You can’t protect it from that much water.”

Dog daycare location opened in May. During construction last year, Hensley said, he was given no warning of any potential flooding issues. Hensley said he has been in contact with city officials and is hoping for a solution, either through an improved storm drainage system or some form of protection for his business.

“I need to know there’s a way to fix this,” Hensley said. “That’s a risk every time it rains.”

At the Capitol South subway station, located on First Street SE, workers cleaned up water from the platform that was coming from the ceiling, Sherri Ly, a spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said in an email.

“Earlier today, heavy rains and flooding in the area overwhelmed our drainage system and began entering the Capitol South Station through the roof of the dome,” Ly said Wednesday evening. “We are also inspecting the drainage to make sure there are no other problems.”

The incident lasted about 15 minutes and there were no injuries or effects on train service, Ly said.

The Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program, or MATOC, posted on Twitter at 6:47 p.m. that there were six-mile delays due to high water on northbound Interstates 95 and 495, crossing Maryland 450 in Prince George’s County. Earlier, around 6:25 p.m., a tree fell on southbound Maryland 295 at Greenbelt Road, blocking one right lane, which created delays of seven miles, according to MATOC.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, around 6:50 p.m. flights were delayed an average of 3 hours and 29 minutes at Baltimore-Washington Marshall International Airport and delays of 4 hours and 56 minutes were reported at Reagan National Airport. Delays of up to 4 hours and 57 minutes were reported at Washington Dulles International Airport.

In Prince George’s County, lightning struck a two-story single-family home in the 14400 block of Saint Gregory Way in Accokeek around 4:50 p.m., Prince George’s Fire and EMS said. Smoke was coming from the roof and flames were coming through the attic. Residents self-evacuated, the department said.

The severe weather came less than a week after three people were killed and another person was injured by lightning in DC’s Lafayette Square following a severe storm.

A flood cleanup crew was at District Dogs Wednesday night cleaning up, Hensley said, and had been there earlier in the day. The dog day care will be closed Thursday and possibly through the weekend, giving staff members a break and some time to regroup, Hensley said.

“You kind of feel lost, you don’t know what to do, because it’s out of your control,” he said. “No one controls Mother Nature.”

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