UPDATE: Germantown Area Under Flood Watch
The Germantown area is going to get a lot of rain over the next four to six days, be prepared and understand how to react to possible flooding.
UPDATE AT 7:50 PM: Due to the high likelihood of extreme rain and winds the next few days, Montgomery County Recreation is canceling all outdoor activities scheduled for the weekend. In addition, Montgomery Parks have canceled the use of all ballfields (Park and MCPS fields) through Monday evening, meaning all sports leagues are postponed.
MCFRS has deployed an additional three swift-water rescue units as it prepares for tomorrow's expected heavy rainfall. One of the units will be stationed in Germantown, another in Darnestown, and the third in Aspen Hill.
UPDATE: Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency in Maryland ahead of Hurricane Joaquin. Hurricane Joaquin gained momentum Thursday afternoon, strengthening to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm by 2 p.m., according to the US Hurricane Center. The Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service urges residents to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the Germantown area and all of Montgomery County from Friday morning through Saturday evening as a Nor’ester works it way through the area ahead of any possible rains which the area may experience from what is now Hurricane Joaquin.
The National Weather Service said, “Rain will be become widespread and increase in intensity across the area Friday and continue into Saturday. Rain totals of two to four inches are expected west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with three to six inches expected between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay. Locally higher amounts will be possible. Heavy rain could fall over a short period of time on saturated soil which could lead to flash flooding.”
The NWS continued, “There is potential for rapid rises of water on numerous small streams as well as in poor drainage areas. Larger rivers will also experience rises. Mudslides may occur in steep terrain.”
Two area high school football games have already been rescheduled from Friday night. The Poolesville versus Watkins Mill game has been moved up to tonight, Thursday at 6:30 pm at Watkins Mill High School. The Northwest high school football game versus Sherwood High School has been posted from Friday night, and will be played Saturday night at 6:30 pm at Gaithersburg High School. The games is at Gaithersburg because Gaithersburg has a new synthetic turf field.
The Damascus High School varsity football game vs. Wheaton has also been moved, it will be played at Wootton High School at 3:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 2, rather than later Friday evening. Wootton also has a turf field.
Again this heavy rainfall will be prior to the arrival of any weather related to Hurricane Joaquin may make landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina or the Norfolk area of Virginia and track up the Chesapeake Bay to the Washington D.C. area, or it may stay along the coast and head north to New Jersey.
“Flash floods more often occur in mountain streams, hilly areas or low-lying areas,” MCFRS wrote in a blog post Thursday morning. “But they do happen in urban and suburban areas like Montgomery County as well. Flash floods can occur even though it's not raining where you are. It may be raining hard farther upstream and raining so hard that the water cannot be absorbed into the ground.”
MCFRS offers a number of tips:
Never drive through a flooded road or bridge.
Turn Around - Don’t Drown and try an alternate route. In many cases, it takes far less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle. It may stall, leaving you stranded, and depending on the level of water, you may not be able to open a vehicle door. Do not underestimate the power of moving water.
Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
One foot of water will float many vehicles.
Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.
MCFRS also offers a list of roads in Montgomery County which are susceptible to flooding. Such roads in the Germantown/Upcounty area include: