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Old Town braces for days of anticipated waterfront flooding

(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) High water levels in Old Town marked the start of what could be several days of tidal flooding around Alexandria.

A Coastal Flood Warning is in effect starting tonight (Thursday) at 8 p.m. and running until 2 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 30). The National Weather Service warned that high tides could flood parts of the city, particularly along the waterfront.

Several businesses around Old Town were already sandbagged and prepared for potential flooding. The city says it will be handing out sandbags Friday morning in anticipation of what NWS is calling “one of the biggest tidal flood events of the past 10-20 years.”

For those looking to use sandbags to protect their home, the city has a quick guide available:

  • Remove any debris from the area where bags are to be placed.
  • If tied bags are used, flatten them and flare the tied end. If untied bags are used, fold the open end to form a triangle.
  • To form a sandbag wall, place bags tightly against one another to form the first layer of defense.
  • Place succeeding bags on the folded or flared portion of the previous bag and stamp into place to eliminate gaps and to form a tight seal.
  • Stagger the second and subsequent layers of bags, similar to the pattern of bricks on a wall.
  • Never use bags to build a fortress around your property because this approach can trap water between sandbag walls and structures, causing further damage.

James Cullum contributed to this story

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