Arlington County Declares State of Emergency After Floods Damage Homes, Businesses

Arlington County, Virginia, has declared a state of emergency after the historic floods that swept through our region on Monday.

County Manager Mark Schwartz signed a "Declaration of Local Emergency," which allows the county to request reminbursement for storm-related costs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The county board must formalize the emergency declaration at its meeting on Saturday.

“Following record setting rainfall and flash flooding on Monday, initial damage assessments have clearly shown the impact to residents and businesses in our community,” Aaron Miller, director of the Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, said in a release.

County officials say affected residents should submit damage report forms by Friday, July 12.

"While owners are responsible for repairs on their property, the County could use this data to pursue disaster aid, to the extent it is available," the release said.

Many residents learned after Monday's floods that their traditional home insurance policies do not cover flooding.

"It's a blow because I just retired and I had everything set," resident Vicki Miller said.

Wayne Blakenship described the moment the floods came rushing into his home.

"We were upstairs on the main level and we heard this crash, I mean, explosion," Blakenship said.

"Four feet of water was above it and all of that rushed into the basement. Within 30 seconds the basement was flooded and coming into the living room."

Neighbors helped each other bag soggy drywall and carpet, while also trying to salvage what they could from the mess the floodwaters left behind.

Kristy Peterkin's family has owned Ayers Variety and Hardware since 1977. Peterkin has been juggling cleaning up the business while still helping customers.

She said the support from the community is what has kept her going.

"People are feeding us. We haven't had to get a meal. They all walk in the door for us," Peterkin said.

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