Heavy rains have some roads still closed in Montgomery County -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 5:55 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2013.

County residents are still feeling the effects of the tizzy Mother Nature threw last night. Although the tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings have lifted, many areas around the county are still under water, forcing a busy morning for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and a headache for some commuters.

Three of the nine MARC trains, trains 875, 879 and 895, will not operate Thursday afternoon due to downed trees on the Brunswick Line near Washington Grove. Although the tracks have since been cleared by CSX, which owns the tracks, “Three trains never made it to D.C. and weren’t available for the return trip,” according to Maryland Transit Administration spokesman Joe Sviatko.

Instead, trains 887 and 881 will operate through Martinsburg, W.Va. Train 883 will make all stops between Washington, D.C., and Brunswick, according to a press release from the Maryland Transit Administration.

Metro will honor MARC tickets, Sviatko said.

And power has been restored to thousands of county residents who were without it earlier today, according to information from Pepco’s power outage map. The majority of the outages were contained to areas around Rockville, Wheaton, and Bethesda and Potomac. Earlier in the day, there were 607 outages in and around Wheaton, 1,681 in and around Rockville, and 444 near Bethesda and Potomac.

White’s Ferry has been closed due to rain and high water since Wednesday evening, according to Malcolm Brown, the ferry’s owner. “[The river] is bank full right now, but I expect it to get probably up to the store,” he said. Shortly before noon today, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Potomac River in Frederick and Montgomery counties.

There have been more than half a dozen water rescues since the rains began yesterday.

Chief George Brown of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department said the department’s River Rescue and Tactical Services Team had a busy night, running rescue calls.

A call, which came in at 6:16 a.m., was a “legitimate rescue,” Brown said.

“If we hadn’t got there when we did, the car would have floated down the Hawlings River, and who knows where it would have ended up,” he said.

The car, at 1901 Brighton Dam Road in Brookeville, was about 200 feet off shore, in about three feet of water on the driver’s side, with a steep drop-off on the passenger side, he said.

Brown said the team went out in the rescue boat and as it approached the car, the car started to float away.

“We took out the windows and basically pulled the man out and put him into our boat,” he said.

Earlier, at 3:55 a.m., the SSVFD responded to Chandlee Mill Road and Gold Mine Road in Brookeville for a stranded motorist.

“We put our boat in about three feet of water to reach the citizen in his vehicle, and brought him back to shore,” Brown said.

The department also responded to calls at 8:25 p.m. for Frederick Road and Newcut Road in Clarksburg, and at 6:08 a.m. for Riffle Ford Road in Germantown, but in both of those incidents, the motorists were rescued before they arrived.

A map of water rescue locations can be found here at Google maps.

“We put a lot of assets on the road hoping they aren’t needed, but it’s a lot easier to turn someone around then to call for help and wait for them,” he said.

Brown said that his message bears repeating.

“When water covers the road, just don’t drive through it,” he said. You are not only risking your life, but the lives of the folks that are coming to save you.”

Brown said that many county roads remain closed, including Haviland Road in Brookeville.

“It’s an island—there’s no in or out for them,” he said. “Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and Howard County Fire and Rescue are trying to contact these folks to check on their welfare,” he said.

Flooding and other issues had closed 26 roads around the county, according to Montgomery County Police. By 5 p.m. Thursday, the number of roads closed had shrunk to 11. A list of roads still affected is available here.

Staff Writer Sylvia Carignan contributed to this report.

sjbsmith@gazette.net