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Crews Work to Mitigate Flood Damage as High Tide, Rain Bring More Water to Georgetown

Efforts to drain lower levels of the Washington Harbour buildings and keep additional water from coming in continued Tuesday morning as crews battled high tide and forecasts of more rain.

When the businesses and residents met rising water with a mixture of surprise and preparedness.

"We've heard everything's flooded...furniture, tables, and a lot of it is wood, so I'm not sure how bad it will be," said a restaurant owner overlooking the waterlogged Washington Harbour. 

Crews inside painted a grim picture. "Walking into the garage, you round the corner, and there's water," said a Pepco employee who spent hours working at the scene. "In the lower levels there's lots of mud, sediment, and whatever else the river deposited when it came in...It'll probably take weeks to clear that out."

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bill Starrels represents the single member district that includes the Washinton Harbour complex. He said he has not been given any specifics about the extent of the damage or the timeline for repairs.

"But you have to presume that what’s in the Potomac becomes what’s in the Washington Harbour," he said about the flooding conditions on the interior of the businesses.

Orders to evacuate came Monday afternoon. Residents and business owners haven't been given an estimate of when they'll be able to return to their property to survey damage. Whatever power was not cut by the flooding itself was cut by Pepco to allow workers to safely assess damage and begin working on repairs.

Starrels said his constituents are "obviously concerned" about being displaced and about the people who work at the Harbour, "everybody else is essnetially out of work" for now. The biggest question? They are wondering "why in the world they didn’t use the flood gates."

Not all restaurants were hit equally. Sequoia's owner said they expected to reopen soon as their restaurant received little damage and water only flooded lower levels and dry storage areas.

Marthann Secrist April 19, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Looks like the Harborside is devastated! How long before Tony & Joe's opens?
Shaun Courtney (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Hi Marthann, It's not clear yet, but we're doing our best to find out. In many cases the restaurant owners are not even sure and have still not been able to assess the damage.
Alma Gates April 19, 2011 at 08:45 PM
The next time DDOT proposes deconstructing Whitehurst Freeway and putting all traffic on K Street -- please send them a copy of your article! Alma Gates

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