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Art On The Avenue in Del Ray (file photo)

A 60% chance of rain might dampen this Saturday’s Art On The Avenue festival in Del Ray, but at least it’s not a hurricane.

Art On The Avenue was supposed to be held on Saturday, October 1, but was postponed due as the remnants of Hurricane Ian battered the East Coast. It was a good decision, since the entire weekend ended up being cold, wet and dreary in Alexandria.

“Postponing an event like this is very difficult,” said festival organizer Pat Miller. “We lost a few artists and we gained a few artists. The food is the same, some of the programming is a little different, but none of the musical acts dropped out.”

Art On The Avenue is historically the biggest day of the year in Del Ray, drawing tens of thousands to Mount Vernon Avenue to check out art from more than 350 artists.

Postponing the event also put some local restaurants in a bind. Del Ray Pizzeria made too much dough, and later sold out after making an appeal to its customers.

The event will not likely be postponed again, in the event of bad weather, Miller said.

“It gets to bee too cold,” Miller said. “That’s tough for a lot of artists and it’s tough for their art.”

The 2020 festival was virtual due to the pandemic, and last year’s event had perfect weather, but an unforced power outage prompted businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue to be shut down.

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New manhole cover (image via City of Alexandria)

It’s a change that likely won’t go noticed by many Alexandrians, but the city is making an adjustment to its manholes that could have an impact on flooding during storms.

According to Flood Action Alexandria — an ongoing newsletter highlighting flooding issues and mitigation measures in Alexandria — the City of Alexandria is working on finding a contractor to install 870 stainless steel manhole inserts around the city.

“Manhole inserts are pan-shaped devices that sit at the top of the manhole, directly underneath the manhole cover,” the newsletter said. “They prevent stormwater inflow from gushing to the sanitary sewer after it enters the hole in the manhole cover.”

The inserts have a hole that slowly trains accumulated stormwater after the storm ends. The idea is to reduce inflow into the sanitary sewer system, which often becomes backed up during storms and contributes to flooding.

A map of where the manhole inserts will be located is shared online.

The newsletter also shared some updates on other flooding projects. The combined Commonwealth and East Glebe Road and Ashby and East Glebe Road project — which will increase the capacity of the storm sewer system — is in contract negotiations with an engineering firm ahead of moving into the design phase.

Two spot improvements, one at Oakland Terrace Timber Branch and another on Mount Vernon Avenue, are entering the construction phase.

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Thousands of art lovers will have to set aside their plans this weekend, as Del Ray’s annual Art On The Avenue has been postponed due to Tropical Storm Ian.

Ian battered Florida with intensity that is now petering out and working its way up the East Coast. For Alexandria, there is 70% likelihood of rain this Saturday, and event organizers have decided not to chance a washout.

The festival will now be held on Saturday, November 12.

This is the third year in a row that Art On The Avenue has taken a hit. The 2020 festival was virtual due to the pandemic, and last year’s event was attended by thousands of people, but an unforced power outage prompted businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue to be shut down.

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National Weather Service map (image via National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service has issued an areal flood warning for Alexandria.

“Avoid small streams and do not drive through water on roadways,” a release from the city said.

The warning is in effect until midnight tonight.

According to the National Weather Service:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EDT TONIGHT…

* WHAT…Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be
possible.

* WHERE…Portions of DC, Maryland and northern Virginia, including
the following areas: in DC, District of Columbia. In Maryland,
Anne Arundel, Carroll, Central and Southeast Howard, Central and
Southeast Montgomery, Northern Baltimore, Northwest Harford,
Northwest Howard, Northwest Montgomery, Prince Georges, Southeast
Harford and Southern Baltimore. In northern Virginia,
Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria, Eastern Loudoun and Fairfax.

* WHEN…Until Midnight EDT tonight.

* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers,
creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…
– Showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon into
the evening as a cold front pushes through the area. Heavy
rainfall rates could produce localized rainfall amounts of 2
to 3 inches in a short period of time.

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Severe thunderstorm as of 4:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued both a Flash Flood Warning and Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Alexandria and surrounding localities.

“The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Alexandria,” the city said in an emergency alert. “Seek indoor shelter immediately.”

In a separate Flash Flood Warning, the city said to avoid small streams and not to drive through water on roadways.

More from the National Weather Service:

BULLETIN – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
428 PM EDT Wed Aug 10 2022

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for… The northwestern District of Columbia… Southeastern Montgomery County in central Maryland… Northwestern Arlington County in northern Virginia… Northeastern Fairfax County in northern Virginia…

* Until 515 PM EDT.

* At 428 PM EDT, a severe thunderstorm was located over North Bethesda, or over Rockville, and is nearly stationary.

HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

* Locations impacted include… Arlington, Rockville, Bethesda, Olney, Pimmit Hills, Mclean, Howard University, American Legion Bridge, Fort Totten, Aspen Hill, Potomac, North Bethesda, North Potomac, Fairland, Tysons Corner, White Oak, Redland, Takoma Park, Great Falls and Colesville.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

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Flood Watch boundaries (via NWS)

The National Weather Service has issued an Areal Flood Watch for Alexandria with rain expected this afternoon and most of this weekend.

While it’s clear skies this morning, the forecast for rain comes after heavy rainfall last night.

“Avoid small streams and do not drive through water on roadways,” the City of Alexandria said in a release.

From NWS:

1020 AM EDT Fri Aug 5 2022

…FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING…

* WHAT…Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible. […]

* WHEN…From 3 PM EDT this afternoon through this evening.

* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…
– Showers and thunderstorms will develop this afternoon and may last into the evening. Any thunderstorms will be capable of producing very heavy rainfall, with localized totals of two to four inches possible. Much of the rain may fall within a one to three hour period, making rapid rises in creeks and streams possible, as well as flash flooding in urban areas.
– http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

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If you think today is hot, bad news: tomorrow is going to be worse.

The National Weather Service has already issued a Heat Advisory for Thursday, calling for heat index values of up to 106 in parts of the D.C. region.

The current NWS forecast for Alexandria calls for a high temperature of 97 and a heat index of up to 105.

Forecasters say tomorrow’s heat will be dangerous those who are outside or somewhere without air conditioning. They also recommend staying hydrated, checking on vulnerable relatives and neighbors and making sure kids and pets are not left in unattended vehicles.

The Heat Advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursday.

More from NWS:

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
102 PM EDT Wed Aug 3 2022

…HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TO 8 PM EDT THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Heat index values up to 106 expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, north central, northeast, northern and southern Maryland, The District of Columbia and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 11 AM to 8 PM EDT Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9 1 1.

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Water Levels at Cameron Run on July 9 (image via City of Alexandria)

A storm that postponed the city’s birthday celebrations last month set a rainfall record in Alexandria according to a floodwater mitigation newsletter prepared by the city.

The Flood Action Alexandria newsletter, prepared by Flood Action Alexandria communications specialist Amanda Dolasinski, noted that a storm on July 9 set the record for rainfall recorded before 7 a.m. The newsletter said the city saw nearly 4 inches of rainfall in the northeast section of Alexandria and pushed Four Mile Run to to the 10-foot stage at Shirlington Road Bridge.

“The Four Mile Run rain gauge in the northeast part of the City recorded 3.92 inches of rain at the 24-hour mark of the July 9 storm, with most rainfall recorded before 7 a.m.” the newsletter said. “The storm was classified as a 10%- to 12%-chance-per-year storm, meaning the rainfall produced exceeded the probability with a 10% chance of being equal in any given year.”

Despite the quantity of rainfall, the newsletter said the intensity was less dramatic and the city didn’t see the same levels of severe flooding as it has in the past.

“Fortunately, the intensities were less dramatic than in past large storm events,” Brian Rahal, a civil engineer for the Stormwater Management Division, said in the newsletter. “It appears the urban flash flooding was at a minimum.”

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With temperatures expected in the 90s until next week, Alexandria is offering cooling centers at recreation centers and libraries.

Thursday’s temperature (July 21) is expected to reach 98 degrees, with a heat index of 104, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperatures are anticipated to reach 95 degrees on Friday, 99 degrees on Saturday, 100 degrees on Sunday, 93 degrees on Monday and then 89 degrees next Tuesday.

“Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, cramps, or in extreme cases, heat stroke,” the city said in a release. “During extended heat waves, people are advised to stay indoors and limit their exposure to the sun; drink plenty of water, and wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.”

Additionally, the Potomac Yard Interactive Fountain at Potomac Yard Park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Labor Day.

Alexandria is also advising residents to visit city pools on its heat safety webpage.

Cooling centers are scheduled at these locations:

  • Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.) — 9 a.m.to 9 p.m. during the week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday
  • Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center (25 W. Reed Ave.) — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Lee Center (1108 Jefferson St.) — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m during the week, closed on weekends
  • Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Ave.) — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center (1108 Jefferson St.) — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week, closed on weekends
  • Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Ave.) — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
  • William Ramsay Recreation Center (5650 Sanger Ave.) — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, closed on Sunday

Libraries

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The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in the area through 10 p.m. (via National Weather Service)

Alexandria and areas nearby are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch this evening and a Flood Watch.

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch earlier today (Monday), cautioning flooding may occur this evening and a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 10 p.m.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” the Flood Watch reads. “Afternoon to evening showers and thunderstorms may produce very heavy rainfall capable of flash flooding. This could include multiple rounds of storms which would enhance the flood risk. Rainfall rates may reach 1 to 2 inches per hour, locally higher in spots. The D.C. and Baltimore metros will be the most susceptible given recent heavy rainfall the past couple of weeks.”

The National Weather Service advises residents to monitor forecasts and be prepared in case of flash floods.

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