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Massive Rainfall Leads to Sinkholes and Water Rescues in Germantown Area

The massive rainstorm which pounded the Germantown area with more than 5-inches of rain on Saturday created havoc on roadways, making some impassible resulting in water rescues and causing sinkholes to open on two area roads.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue units were called to at least two locations on Saturday, July 21 as torrents of rain fell on the UpCounty area. The combination of almost a week of rain compounded by a fierce almost, Nor’easter-like mid-summer rainstorm which dropped 5.19 inches of rain on Germantown on Saturday has left residents wondering what happened to the sun of summer

Indeed the rain will continue in the area. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Germantown through late Tuesday night. “Showers and thunderstorms will become more numerous this afternoon into tonight,” said the National Weather Service. “This pattern will remain in place through Tuesday evening, with multiple rounds of torrential rainfall possible. Given saturated soil from this weekend's rainfall, repetitive heavy rain may result in flash flooding.”

The NWS has issued a Flood Warning for the area of the Seneca Creek at Dawsonville in Darnestown. The creek is forecast to rise above flood stage by early tomorrow afternoon and crest near 8.5 feet by early Wednesday morning, according to the NWS. The river will fall below flood stage by early Thursday morning. At 3:00 pm on Monday, the creek was at 3.8 feet. Flood Stage is 7.5 feet. At 7.5 feet portions of the Seneca Creek Greenway are flooded. A small portion of Berryville Road west of Darnestown begins to flood. The creek last flooded about a year ago on July 29, 2017, when it crested to 8.9 feet.

On Saturday night just after 10:30 pm, as the rain was pouring down, MCFRS responded to Game Preserve Road near I-270 for a vehicle in the high water. MCFRS rescued three occupants from the vehicle, including one child. No one was injured.

About an hour later, at 11:48 pm, MCFRS was called to the scene of another vehicle trapped in rushing water at New Cut Road in Clarksburg. The incident took place near the intersection with Frederick Road. The one person in the car was able to self-rescue without injury.

The torrential rain also caused a massive failure of a culvert on Father Hurley Boulevard in Germantown, which created a 20 by 20-foot sinkhole partially in the southbound lanes of the roadway. The sinkhole was about 25-feet deep and forced the closure of Father Hurley Boulevard in both directions. The roadway is expected to be closed for about three days, as crews work to repair the damaged pipe and sure-up the roadway. Father Hurley remains closed between Wynnfield Drive and Beaconfield Terrace.

Another sinkhole was created Monday morning on Game Preserve Road when yet another heavy downpour of rain clobbered the area. The sinkhole which appeared just west of MD-355/Frederick Road in the southbound lane will have Game Preserve Road closed between Clopper Road and Frederick Road. While the road is closed to through-traffic, residents and businesses are allowed on Game Preserve Road.

Also, this morning, the drenched soil and heavy wet branches forced a tree to come down which damaged several electrical poles and brought wired down on an occupied car in Poolesville. At about 8:00 am on Monday, July 23, MCFRS responded to the area of Norris Road and Wootton Avenue in Poolesville for a driver trapped in a vehicle with live wires on it. Potomac Edison was called to control the power, and the drive was rescued without injury.

MCFRS offers a number of tips for driving during heavy rains:

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:

16500 block of Black Rock Road at Great Seneca Creek;

21000 block of Blunt Road between Germantown Road and Brink Road;

9900 Brink Road near the intersection with Wightman Road in Gaithersburg;

12000 block of Clopper Road at Great Seneca Creek in Germantown;

21600 block of Davis Mill Road at Great Seneca Creek;

22100 block of Frederick Road at Little Seneca Creek in Germantown;

11200 block of Game Preserve Road;

15200 Hoyles Mill Road at Little Seneca Creek;

9800 block of Huntmaster Road at Great Seneca Creek;

26000 block of Long Corner Road at Scotts Branch in Damascus;

22300 block of New Cut Road at Little Seneca Creek in Clarksburg;

16800 block of Riffleford Road at Great Seneca Creek;

16000 block of Schaffer Road at Little Seneca Creek;

12000 block of Skylark Road at Little Seneca Creek in Clarksburg;

Ten Mile Creek Road in Clarksburg;

16100 block of West Baltimore Road at Bucklodge Branch in Boyds;

15300 West Old Baltimore Road at Ten Mile Creek in Boyds;

13800 West Baltimore Road at Little Seneca Creek in Boyds;

19100 block of White Ground Road in Boyds;

16700 block of White Store Road at the Seneca Creek Tributary near Bucklodge Road in Boyds.


Top: The 20 by 20 sinkhole on Father Hurley Boulevard will create some commuting headaches for Germantown residents for about a week.

Next: MCFRS units were called to New Cut Road in Clarksburg on Saturday night for a vehicle stranded in high waters. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Next: Saturday’s torrential rains created a sinkhole on Father Hurley Boulevard. On Sunday morning crews worked to fill the hole with gravel.

Next: Father Hurley Bloulevard remains closed between Wynnfield Drive and BeaconField Terrace in the area of Lake Churchill.

Next: Heavy rains on Monday morning created a second sinkhole, this one on Game Preserve Road near Seneca Creek. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Next: Game Preserve Road is closed to through traffic between Clopper Road and Frederick Road. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Next: Monday’s rains caused a tree to fall on wires in Poolesville, trapping on driver when live wires came down on his vehicle. No injuries were reported. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Photo by Germantown Pulse, unless otherwise noted.

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