- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
After two days of rain, Charles County residents finally got a chance to see the sun again Thursday, but the storms still resulted in complications.
Charles County Public Schools had a two-hour delay Thursday morning, and the same morning four county roads — Billingsley, Livingston, Pomfret and Hancock Run roads — remained closed due to flooding. Bicknell Road also was open only to local traffic at that time.
Most areas received between 3 to 5 inches of rain, County Commissioner Ken Robinson said. Robinson (D) said at his Swan Point home, 4.85 inches fell. Bryans Road saw a maximum of 5.38 inches of precipitation, Waldorf 4.74 and 3.82 in St. Charles, according to National Weather Service data released Thursday.
Robinson (D) said in his neck of the woods the storm brought on “the highest tides I’ve seen here in three or four years,” along with some coastal flooding.
A tornado warning that was issued Wednesday brought its own complications for the county’s schools, public schools spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson said. The warning, issued shortly before 4:30 p.m., meant that schools that had students and teachers still inside had to enact the system’s shelter-in-place protocol as a means of keeping them safe. Across the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Colonial Beach, Va., a tornado touched down, and students at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School in Newburg were also held in place, and students’ parents were told not to come pick them up until after the warning was lifted. Buses on the roads also were told to pull over at nearby buildings to allow students to go inside and stay in place.
“The county did very well considering how much rainfall we experienced,” Robinson said. “We had a combination of stream flooding and coastal flooding ... but there were no issues, injuries or extensive damage. The fact that we didn’t have any power outages also is amazing, considering how saturated the ground was.”
County government spokeswoman Crystal Hunt said 12 roads flooded and had to close overall, and Chapman’s Landing Road required shoulder repairs because of the same. As of Thursday afternoon, Hunt wrote, Billingsley Road near Dutton’s Bridge and Hancock Run Road remained closed but were expected to open soon. A sinkhole opened up on Cobb Island on Potomac River Drive, as well. Although two cul-de-sacs in the St. Charles community flooded because of drainage issues, Hunt said, none of the homes on those roads suffered property damage.
The flooding that La Plata resident Jenny Yates experienced at her home is nothing new.
“We’re a tourist attraction. People know about us and our home flooding, and I don’t know them,” Yates said Thursday in a telephone interview. “They drive by after heavy rain to see if our home flooded.”
Yates is in the process of working with the county to get grants to help resolve the situation: The home flooded for the first time in 2006, after not having ever been affected since being built in 1968.
Yates pays for flood insurance and admits that she and her husband, who were first-time homebuyers “didn’t read the fine print” about the home being in a flood zone when they purchased it. The constant flooding has resulted in the significant devaluation of her home. When appraised in 2006, Yates said her home was valued at $425,000. Now, the value stands at a stark $20,000.
“How much do we have to endure? I can’t do this anymore,” Yates said. “It just breaks my heart.”
Staff writer Gretchen Phillips contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org