Northeast Flooded By Heavy Rains

This tree fell at the White House during the storms.
This tree fell at the White House during the storms.
People wade through floodwaters behind a church Sunday in Federalsburg, Maryland.
People wade through floodwaters behind a church Sunday in Federalsburg, Maryland.
Floodwaters lap at cars in a Wal-Mart parking lot Sunday in Seaford, Delaware.
Floodwaters lap at cars in a Wal-Mart parking lot Sunday in Seaford, Delaware.

A weekend of heavy rain created a nightmare for commuters in Washington, D.C., and the mid-Atlantic region Monday, spilling mud over the Capital Beltway, washing out roads and disrupting Amtrak service.

Forecasters warned the storms won't be ending any time soon.

Rain is in the forecast every day this week because of a stubborn low-pressure system off the coast, said National Weather Service spokeswoman Jackie Hale.

High water shut down some Amtrak and commuter rail lines into Washington early Monday, and only limited service had resumed between Washington and Philadelphia at 6:30 a.m.

Even Metro subway service in the city was disrupted because of high water on the electrified rails downtown, said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

"Riders should bring an umbrella and a bucket full of patience," Farbstein said.

Drivers weren't having much more luck. Underpasses were flooded, and on the Capital Beltway, a mud slide piled five feet of debris on the roadway near Alexandria, Virginia, backing up traffic.

Transportation crews were working to open at least some lanes for the morning commute but warned of long delays, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joan Morris.

Even the National Archives was closed -- the moat surrounding the building on Pennsylvania Avenue had flooded, spokesman Susan Cooper said. She said a preliminary assessment indicated all records held there were "safe and dry."

At the White House, a large tree fell over on the president's lawn.

On Maryland's Eastern Shore, 10 to 12 inches of rain fell over the weekend in Federalsburg, washing out roads and flooding church basements. Mayor Betty Ballas declared an emergency Sunday for the town of 2,600 residents, 60 miles southeast of Baltimore near the Delaware line. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.

Floating cars

In Seaford, Delaware, cars were floating in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Amy Walls, a spokeswoman for the city, said between 10 and 15 people were evacuated from homes in an area known for flooding. City officials were urging people to stay off the streets.

Some homes endured extensive damage. Thelma Gillespie said water was waist-high in the family room of her split-level home and three of her vehicles were submerged up to their roofs.

"It's just a mess. I don't know where to start," Gillespie said. "All my furniture down here was new last year, and I don't have flood insurance. I don't know what we're going to do."

Caroline County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Dixon spent the day helping Federalsburg residents evacuate. "I don't think there's been any panic," Dixon said. "Everyone understands it's better to err on the side of caution."

Homes also were evacuated in the Galestown area, and a National Guard UH-60 helicopter was deployed to survey flooded areas on the Eastern Shore, said Mike Zeigler, an assistant director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

'A serious situation'

First Sgt. Russell Newell, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said at least 20 Dorchester County roads were closed.

Newell said Route 307, a state road, had been completely washed out down to the gravel in a large section. The road will have to be completely rebuilt in order to be used again, he said.

"It is quite a serious situation," he said. "There's a lot of roads that have been disabled due to heavy rains and flooding."

A round of storms that rolled through central Maryland Sunday night knocked out power to thousands of Pepco customers in Montgomery County. Flash flood warnings were issued for Baltimore city and Baltimore, Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard, Harford and Cecil counties.

In Chevy Chase, floodwaters trapped about 30 people inside a recreation center near Rock Creek, Montgomery County fire officials said.

In Federalsburg, Janice Todd, 47, helped haul soggy carpet out of the basement of Park Lane Church of God.

"We had to rip carpets out of two rooms," she said. "We've had just a little bit of damage -- nothing we won't overcome."

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