Third Apparent Flood Victim in N. Virginia

Tropical Storm Lee's lingering remnants have taken a tragic turn in the D.C. area.

A third apparent flooding victim in Fairfax County, Va., was identified Friday. Galo Sebastian Salvador Vinueza, 25, of Lorton, apparently tried to walk across the flooded Accotink Creek Bridge, police said.

When Vinueza's wife returned to their home Thursday evening, her Vinueza wasn't there, so she went looking for him. She found his car parked in the 8800 block of Telegraph Road near the bridge and called police.

Fort Belvoir fire personnel found Vinueza's body Friday at Davison Air Field.

Two others, including a child, died after they were swept away in rain-swollen waters Thursday night, a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue spokesman said.

A 12-year-old died in the rapidly rising waters of the Piney Branch Creek in the 9800 block of Marcliff Court near Lawyers Road and Loch Lomond Drive in Vienna about 6 p.m., Dan Schmidt said. The child, Jack Donaldson, was with another juvnile when he was swept away by the creek.  Numerous police and fire personnel responded to the scene in the torrential downpour to search for the boy. His body was found at about 8 p.m. in Piney Branch Creek at Lawyers Road.

A 67-year-old man died in a car when it was overwhelmed by rushing water at Carrwood and Beach Mill roads in the Great Falls area about 7 p.m.  Officials said Arsalan Hakiri was driving his Toyota Yaris in rising waters near Beech Mill Road at Club View Drive when he was swept downstream in his car. As he apparently tried to get out, he was swept into the creek and drowned near Carrwood Drive.

Another person died in Southampton County, Va., the Associated Press reported. Paula Horner, 48, was driving on Va. 35 about 2:30 a.m. Friday when her car hit standing water and veered into a swamp, state police said. A passenger escaped, but Horner was trapped and drowned in the submerged car.

Creeks and streams throughout the D.C. area spilled out of their banks in Thursday's continued rain, shutting down many roadways, including parts of the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County.

High water forced the closure of Interstate 95 at Cameron Run in both directions in Fairfax County for a while Thursday night. By 9:45 p.m., the water was down about 10 feet, and despite debris, one lane in each direction was reopened.

Then the eastbound lanes were closed at the Mixing Bowl. Drivers attempting to get access to the Outer Loop from I-95 or I-395 were being stopped by high water. The Beltway reopened at about 1 a.m.

The Maryland Department of Transportation and police closed the westbound Woodrow Wilson Bridge to prevent cars on I-495 to cross to the Virginia side and risk getting stuck in high water.

It was part of a second round of Tropical Storm Lee-related storms that moved through the area, bringing threats of tornadoes, lightning, heavy rains and high waters -- enough to completely shut down a Prince George's County town and force emergency crews to rescue stranded motorists across the D.C. region.

Thursday evening, Fairfax County , Va., officials urged residents of the Huntington area to immediately evacuate their homes on Fenwick Drive, Arlington Terrace, Mount Vernon Drive and Liberty Drive as signicant rainfall was expected to continue.

Two mobile home parks -- Holly Acres off Route 1 and Marumsco across from Marumsco Plaza -- were evacuated in Prince William County, Va., as heavy rain overwhelmed the area into the night, officials said. Residents were evacuated to a pet-friendly shelter at Woodbridge High School.

Normally, Lee's remnants would have moved out of the area, but Hurricane Katia over the Atlantic Ocean is holding Lee at bay, News4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer reported, resulting in more than 15 inches of rain in some places between the two tropical systems. Almost 7 inches were recorded at Reagan National Airport, more than 9 inches in Fairfax County and more than 15 inches in Charles County. And that to rainfall from Hurricane Irene and some places have had almost two feet of rain in recent weeks.

The rainfall led to some motorists abandoning their vehicles on roads across the D.C. region. And unfortunately, the "rain train" has continued Thursday.

Cars were almost completely covered with water at the Reston, Va., Park and Ride.

Route 301 was closed in both directions in the Upper Marlboro, Md., area because of what looked like a river filled with debris running down the roadway.  The parking lot of a Ford dealership along Route 301 was completely under water. The dealership said it has sustained at least $5 million in losses.

There also were problems on Route 301 in Charles County, where there are two sinkholes on -- the first is just prior to Route 6 (near Popeye’s) and the second is just after Route 6 near the sheriff’s office.

Drivers should not attempt to drive through high water, as flooded roadways can look deceptive in regard to current and depth.

Maryland Natural Resources police warned people to avoid recreational activities on the Potomac River and its tributaries through Tuesday.

In Prince George's County, the County Administration Building (CAB) and the County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro were closed Friday.

The Prince George’s County government will still be open for business on a regular schedule in all other county buildings. All non-CAB county employees should report to work at their regularly scheduled time.

The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters was closed Friday. Essential employees were told to report as directed.

The Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation said that as of noon Friday, five county-maintained roadways remained closed due to continuing concerns resulting from recent flooding.

Roadways closed are:

  • Floral Park Road between Windbrook Drive and Danville Road, Clinton (This roadway was re-opened earlier, but closed again due to rising waters from this morning's rain.)
  • Judges Drive, Upper Marlboro
  • Governor Bridge Road, Bowie
  • Baden-Naylor Road @ Molly Berry Road, Brandywine
  • McKendree Road @ MD 373 and Mister Road, Brandywine

Floral Park Road, Judges Drive and Governor Bridge Road will be re-opened after water has subsided and roadways are cleared by crews from DPW&T, which entails removing tree debris and sediment carried onto to the roadways by flood waters.

Baden-Naylor and McKendree roads require more extensive restoration and/or replacement work. Certified structural engineers from DPW&T and staff from the Office of Highway Maintenance are meeting on-site to determine the full extent of the damages at both locations.

Contractors are on-call and as soon as the extent of the work has been determined, Notices to Proceed will be issued to allow work to begin immediately. Detour signs will be in place during the duration of the work.

In addition to County-maintained roadways, the following state roadways remain closed:

  • MD 381, Mattawoman Drive to Missouri Avenue, Brandywine
  • MD 717, North of MD 4/Water Street, Upper Marlboro
  • MD 725, Between US 301 and Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro

Click here for road closures in Charles County.

Rain continued into Friday, but we should dry out over the weekend, with highs in the 80s and partly cloudy skies. Rain on Saturday and Sunday can't be ruled out, Kammerer said, but most areas should be dry. Any showers should be to the north of D.C. and few and far between.

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