Expected Potomac River Flooding Prompts Caution, Preparation

Gray: We do remain vigilant of the threat posed by flooding on the Potomac River

Updated 10 a.m.

The National Weather Service is now predicting "moderate" flooding, rather than previously feared "major" flooding, along the Potomac River. Wednesday morning's high tide will be an estimated two to three feet above normal because of Sandy. NWS reports the Potomac River should "maintain moderate flood levels through Friday afternoon."


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The threat of flooding along the tidal Potomac River has local businesses and the District government on alert and taking precautions.

Major flooding is most likely to occur over night and into the very early morning Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS estimate "there is a chance" the Potomac River will cross the major flood threshold of 10 feet at the Wisconsin Avenue gague sometime between midnight and 4 a.m. Thursday.

If that 10-foot threshold was met, "Flood waters will approach K Street in Georgetown near Washington Harbour," according to the NWS. If the gauge reached 10.5 feet, "flood waters will reach 17th street and Independence Avenue SW along the Tidal Basin," NWS predicts. 

The flood gates are in place at the Washington Harbour and Mayor Vincent Gray assured residents his administration would "remain vigilant" of the threat.

On Tuesday, the Washington Harbour complex was open to tenants, but businesses like Tony & Joe's were closed as a precaution. When Patch spoke with Tony & Joe's on Tuesday, they said the restaurant had minor water leakage and they hope to be open by the weekend.

“The Potomac may crest late tomorrow evening well above flood stage, and we will continue monitoring the situation and making preparations to mitigate the effects of any river flooding,” Gray said in a press release Tuesday. 

Overnight Tuesday, NWS says water levels will likely reach three or four feet above the normal tide. Moderate flooding will probably begin overnight as flood waters from already overflowing tributaries and creeks impact the Tidal Potomac River. 

Flooding could last through Friday.


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