Thunderstorms claimed the life of a 19-year-old in Maryland and caused power outages and flooding in the DC area on Wednesday, as Mayor Muriel Bowser activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center.
The Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center operated between 12 pm and 12 am to ensure city services are well-coordinated between District, regional, and federal partners.
Tropical Depression Ida was expected to bring three to five inches of rain and possibly damaging winds to the District starting around noon on Wednesday, downing trees, and causing flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.
“I’ve charged our response agencies with working together to anticipate needs and ensure as minimal impact to the District as possible,” Bowser said in a release. “We are asking residents to take Ida seriously and to pay close attention to the weather conditions and latest alerts. And if you are driving tomorrow, remember: turn around, don’t drown.”
Flash flooding remains a serious risk as Ida moves over the District. Hence, DC officials strictly warn that residents should not drive or walk through standing flood water.
“Driving through standing water not only endangers your life but risks the lives of the District’s first responders,” said Christopher Rodriguez, Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA).
Make sure you look out for flooding in low lying areas at bridges and at highway dips when driving, because even six inches of water may cause you lose control of their vehicle.
If your home has flood water inside or around it, you should not walk or wade in it. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. It is also not safe to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.
Residents have been encouraged to do as follows in preparation for the impacts from Ida:
- Sign up for AlertDC at alertdc.dc.gov;
- Track weather forecasts from the National Weather Service for up-to-date information on the storm timing and location;
- Keep your devices charged;
- Clean out gutters and drains;
- Secure or move inside any loose furniture or other items;
- Call 311 if you spot downed trees;
- Install protection or move items out of any areas that typically flood;
- Ensure that you know where insurance and other important numbers are located (and take pictures of important documents like your insurance cards);
- Check on neighbors who may require assistance if it is safe to do so. This includes individuals with infants, children as well as older adults, people with disabilities and others who may need help.