Tysons Corner, VA

A little more than a week ago, severe flash flooding swept the Tysons area causing widespread damage.

Tysons Reporter reported on a variety of the storm’s impacts from multiple road closures to swift water rescues, from to flooded yards, basements and fields to missing chickens in McLean.

While the recent hot weather dried out the Tysons area, we want to know how much the flooding impacted you.

Let us know in the poll and comment below to tell Tysons Reporter more about your experience.

First photo via @SteveML9022/Twitter

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Runoff from construction sites reportedly caused a number of drainage issues around McLean following major flooding last Monday (July 8).

Fairfax County received several complaints last week about construction sites mentioning stormwater runoff and water and mud flooding, according to the Sites Construction Complaints Report, which shows complaints submitted in the last 30 days to Land Development Services.

“Most of the complainants who called this week seemed to think the issues were definitely caused by the heavy rains,” Hanna Kras, a Land Development Services staffer, wrote in an email obtained by Tysons Reporter.

Kras noted that inspectors’ resolutions to complaints will “give a better picture about whether or not these issues were driven by the flooding.”

“After a rain event like this, our inspectors respond to emails and phone calls about run-off and debris from construction sites that are impacting neighboring properties,” Anne Cissel, the spokeswoman for Land Development Services, told Tysons Reporter.

Cissel added that inspectors are “still catching up on filing their reports into the system.”

In a complaint last Wednesday (July 10), a woman reported that new construction in the 6500 block of Smoot Drive switched the grade from facing toward the street to facing toward her mom’s house, resulting in runoff.

Inspectors told the builder to fix a silt fence that “was breached due to Monday’s flood flush.” The inspectors were scheduled to meet with the complainant this morning.

Last Thursday (July 11), someone also complained about trash and portable toilet spill at 7006 Elizabeth Drive: “Due to recent flooding, a drainage problem has been noted. Portable toilet spill. Construction debris spill.”

In another complaint on Friday, July 12, someone reported worsening gravel and debris issues at 6500 Tucker Avenue, adding that “with the recent rain downpours, it has gotten even worse, spreading all over the roads making them hazardous in our area.”

These three complaints are still marked as “open” or “in progress” as of this afternoon.

One complaint the county closed was from last Wednesday (July 10) about a blocked drain that flooded a street and nearby yard. The inspectors found that the contractor at 1629 Wrightson Drive “had inlet protection at the storm structure… [The contractor] will remove inlet protection when expecting heavy rain.”

When asked if crews had trouble getting to the sites because of the storm damage, Cissel responded, “Kirby Road is closed and Benjamin [Street] was also impacted.”

Photo via @SteveML9022/Twitter

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One day after a GoFundMe campaign launched to help the McLean Little League repair damage to its complex from Monday’s flash flooding has already raised more than $18,000.

Started yesterday (Wednesday), the fundraiser has raised about a quarter of its $75,000 goal.

“We have set up this fund to help cover the cost of repairs (given our location, we do not have flood insurance),” according to the GoFundMe.

Currently, the McLean Little League complex is closed.

Work to repair the damage will include rebuilding two dugouts, repairing fencing on three of the four fields and cleaning up the fields at the complex (1836 Westmoreland Street), Jen Nance, the president of the McLean Little League, previously told Tysons Reporter.

The aim is to get the work done before the fall season starts.

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After major flash flooding caused widespread damage on Monday (July 8), Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust shared how the county can better prepare for future storms and what steps are currently underway.

“It was horrific in certain areas,” Foust said. “It came by and went so fast.”

Foust said that while he wasn’t surprised by the damage from the flash flooding on Monday, it was the worst he has ever seen in Fairfax County.

Tysons Reporter talked to Foust about how work after the storm has been going around the Tysons area and what infrastructure improvements are needed to help the county weather the next big storm.

When the flooding started, Foust said he was inside his home during the brunt of the storm, waiting to get to his car parked outside. Eventually, Foust said he was able to get outside and drive to his office, which is nearby — “Pretty easy compared to what many had to go through,” he said.

Assessing the Damage

From a multitude of road closures to flooded backyards, from more than 55 water rescues to three missing chickens swept away, clean-up and assessment are still underway across the county.

In an email to residents last night (Wednesday), Foust urged people affected by the storm to submit information online to a disaster damage database to help the county with its damage assessment. People can submit reports until Wednesday, July 24.

“While owners are responsible for repairs on their property, the county could use this data to pursue disaster aid through the federal government to the extent such aid is available,” Foust wrote.

The Town of Vienna also tweeted about the database, writing, “Damage reports may impact what — if any– federal disaster assistance may be made available.”

As for the cleanup efforts this week, Foust said, “The county staff performed extremely well.”

Foust also praised the county’s work on stream restoration, which recently included Bull Neck Run and Dead Run Stream.

Road Work Underway 

Foust said that several improvement projects are slated to help roads weather serious flooding in the future, including Tucker Avenue and Chesterbrook Road in McLean.

The Tucker Avenue project will address flooding along the avenue from Birch Street to where it deadends at the Pimmit Run stream. Project design is set to start this summer, he said.

“It’s almost scary what happens on that road when it rains hard,” he said because of the road’s incline may make it the worst road for flooding in the McLean District. “Not a meandering stream but a roaring river.”

The Chesterbrook project at the intersection of Chesterbrook Road and N. Albemarle Street is set to add a larger pipe for more water. While the Virginia Department of Transportation had said that the project may start in the fall, plans have not been finalized, he said.

In addition to the work on those local roads, Fouse said that the Route 7 widening project includes elevating the road where Dead Run Stream regularly floods Route 7.

Preparing for the Next Big Flood

Going forward, “a lot of things need to be done,” Foust said to minimize damage from another major storm.

McLean and the general area around Tysons were built before stormwater management requirements, which the county is now trying to superimpose with a new system, he said.

Foust said that as changing weather patterns could see severity increase for future storms, he wants the county to prioritize funding stormwater management projects and work with developers of infill projects, which develops vacant or under-used areas within existing urban areas, to better manage stormwater sites.

“The funding is never adequate,” Foust said Capital Improvement Program funding for stormwater management projects. “You do the best you can with the resources you have. For available resources, we need to prioritize stormwater management projects more than in the past.”

Whenever the next big flash flooding hits, Foust said that he hopes for more notice from forecasters.

“It’s one thing when you see it coming,” he said.

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The National Weather Service issued Flash Flood Watch for Fairfax County and surrounding areas just days after major flooding hit.

The watch is in effect from 2 p.m. through late tonight (July 11).

More from NWS:

* Showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and evening. Torrential rainfall may lead to totals exceeding 2 inches in a short period of time. This may cause flash flooding of small streams and other poor drainage urban areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

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

After more than 55 water rescues on Monday, forecasters are also reminding people to “turn around, don’t drown” when encountering water of unknown depth on the roads.

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If you spot chickens in McLean, they may be the three ones reported missing from a backyard coop that was washed away in flash floods on Monday.

Cat McGill told Tysons Reporter that her family and a neighboring family on Great Falls Street by Pimmit Run Stream started a joint venture to keep chickens on their combined 3.5 acres of land.

“We got them because the kids didn’t have any pets,” McGill said, adding that her 1.5-year-old son and the neighbors’ kids, ages 13 and 7, shared them. “My son literally has to see — he calls them cluck clucks — the cluck clucks every single day.”

The kids named the Buff Orpington chickens, which they had for about two years, Peridot, Peril and Gerboa, she said. (Previous chickens they had were named Beyonce and Katy Perry.)

The kids don’t know yet that their pet chickens are missing — McGill is with her son in Ohio at the moment and the neighbors’ kids are on vacation. “They are just going to be heartbroken,” she said.

When the flooding happened, the chickens were in a large coop outside that doesn’t have a bottom. She said a neighbor found a part of the structure by the McLean Little League fields.

At first, McGill thought that the chickens were washed away, but then someone posted a photo on Nextdoor of chicken “paw prints” by where the coop crashed, giving her renewed hope that they might still be alive.

McGill said it’s been heartening to see so many people searching for the chickens — “There are some very sweet neighbors.”

In addition to the missing chickens, McGill said that about 4 feet of water flooded the 3.5 acres destroying their bridge and a shed and floated the kids’ playset away.

“The chickens are the only thing we’re upset about,” she said about the damage.

If you see any chickens, email [email protected] and we’ll make sure McGill gets the information.

Photo courtesy Cat McGill

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Updated at 9 a.m. — The Fairfax County Park Authority said this morning (July 10) that the west parking lot at Scott’s Run and bridge at Lewinsville Park are still closed. 

Around the Tysons area, work is underway to clean up and repair roads, parks and even a high school after severe flash flooding yesterday.

“Nearly 5 inches of rain fell on Fairfax County Monday morning — nearly a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours, overwhelming numerous parts of our public infrastructure,” according to Fairfax County.

McLean High School had two hallways flooded along with the athletic locker rooms and coaches’ offices, Ellen Reilly, the principal of the high school, told Tysons Reporter, adding that Fairfax County Public Schools assessed the school today (July 9) to make sure that all of the areas were safe.

“Custodial staff worked throughout the day pumping out the water from the locker rooms and the carpets will be shampooed once everything dries out,” Reilly said.

The staff received a shout out on the high school’s Twitter:

Kirby Road will continue to be closed in McLean for several weeks as crews work to repair extensive damage.

The Fairfax County Park Authority said this morning that several parks in the Tysons area are closed as park teams assess the damage, including the west parking lot at Scott’s Run and bridge at Lewinsville Park.

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Update on 7/10/19 — Both lanes of Kirby Road from Dolley Madison Blvd. to Claiborne Drive are open, but traffic barriers have been set up past that, according to information from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management and forwarded by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust.

Earlier: Severe weather damage will keep Kirby Road closed in McLean to through-traffic for the foreseeable future.

The road runs from Dolley Madison Blvd near the George Washington Memorial Parkway down to Great Falls Street. But flooding at Pimmit Run from storms yesterday means that while residents in the area are able to access their homes, the route no longer connects Dolley Madison Blvd to Old Dominion Drive.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1148731850686439424

“We have no specific timeline, but it will be weeks,” Ellen Kamilakis, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter. “The water tore right through the road [and] exposed the area underneath all the way.”

Part of the upper asphalt is visible carved away by the storm, but Kamilakis said the damage underneath is so extensive that the road would not be able to support the weight of a car. Kamilakis said the road will require complete reconstruction — and a review of whether the road needs stormwater upgrades.

Earlier today (Tuesday) traffic on the road was stopped near Dolley Madison Blvd as the crew worked to finish clearing a debris-cluttered bridge, but Kamilakis said the closure will be tightened up to just the area immediately surrounding the broken section of the road.

Kamilakis said the cleaning crews had been working overnight to clear away the debris, and the VDOT Twitter noted that the efforts were rewarded by one local man who brought water to the workers.

Those trying to get from northern McLean to areas near Arlington will either have to go thrown “downtown” McLean or go further east to Glebe Road.

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Following extensive damage from flash flooding yesterday (Monday), the McLean Little League is looking to repair its complex during the off-season.

Jen Nance, the president of the McLean Little League, told Tysons Reporter that the “serious damage” is still being assessed after the creek behind the facility flooded the fields at 1836 Westmoreland Street.

“It was definitely the most floodwaters we have seen in any recent history,” Nance said, adding that the flashing flooding “wreaked havoc.”

Before the flooding started, the facility managed opened up the fields for a local baseball group to use them for a camp this week. Seven cars belonging to the group’s coaches ended up floating around in the flooded parking lot during the brunt of the storm, Nance said. Luckily, no one was hurt.

By 12:30 p.m. yesterday, most of the water had receded from the fields, making the damage clearly visible. “[You] can tell where the debris from the creek got stuck in the fencing,” Nance said. “Debris is at least 6 feet up on the fence.”

Nance said that work will include rebuilding two dugouts, repairing fencing on three of the four fields and cleaning up the fields, adding that the tee-ball field has the worst amount of damage, while the front field suffered the least.

Currently, the McLean Little League complex is closed — “it’s not a secure, safe situation right now,” she said — and the nonprofit is working with vendors to determine the cost and timeframe for repairs.

“We’re thinking we can get it all repaired by the fall season,” Nance said, adding that “it’s too soon to know” when the repairs will be finished.

Tysons Reporter spoke to contractors inspecting the site today (July 9), who said that the goal is to reopen the complex by Labor Day.

While the McLean Little League hasn’t started a GoFundMe yet, Nance said that community fundraising is one option to pay for the repairs.

“We are a nonprofit, so we rely heavily on our community and donors,” she said. “This is a once in many year occurrence.”

Because of the timing of the flooding, Nance said that she expects the damage to have little impact on the team or the local community, which often will use the field.

“We don’t have games. The seasons are wrapping up,” she said. “I think it will be hopefully minimal. If we get rolling soon, there will be no impact on the fall season.”

For people who want to stay updated on the repair status, Nance recommends checking the McLean Little League’s Twitter and Facebook. Nance also suggests keeping an eye out for registration for the fall season, which is set to open in the next couple of weeks.

“We will likely continue to update via Twitter. Our population looks to that Twitter feed,” she said.

Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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Updated at 9 a.m. on 7/9/19 — Updates FCPD list of road closures below. Only Kirby Road is still closed.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. — Fairfax County police said that the 1300 block of Kirby Road will be closed “for significant time” while the damage is assessed.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. — In Falls Church, S. Oak Street remains closed because the bridge’s surface was damaged by the rain and Hillwood Avenue did not have a sinkhole, but the road buckled from the rain. A temporary fix is in place for the avenue, and a permanent fix will be made this week.

Flooding has apparently closed Westmoreland Street (exit 68) by I-66 in Falls Church.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. — Updated FCPD list of road closures below.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. — Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust tweeted at 2:30 p.m. that a part of 1300 block of Kirby Road has been washed out and that “several agencies are on scene to find a solution to make sure residents can get to their homes.”

Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Updates FCPD list of road closures below.

Updated at 1 p.m. — The Fairfax County Police Department tweeted that Prosperity Avenue between Arlington Blvd (Route 50) and Little River Turnpike (Route 236) is buckled and could take up to seven hours for the water to recede. “Due to there being a lot of serious damage to the pavement, the road will not reopen this quickly,” FCPD tweeted.

Updated at 12:40 p.m. — A multi-vehicle accident on I-66 by N. West Street in Falls Church has closed the left shoulder and left lane heading eastbound, according to the Virginia Department of Transporation. 

Updated at 11:50 a.m. — Kirby Road is reportedly closed near Route 123 as Pimmit Run swells.

Updated at 11:25 a.m. — Maple Avenue is now open again, the Town of Vienna tweeted.

Earlier: Parts of Maple Avenue in the Town of Vienna and several roads around the Tysons area are closed this morning as flooding continues around Fairfax County.

The Town of Vienna tweeted shortly after 10 a.m. that Maple Avenue is closed between East Street and Beulah Road due to flooding.

Westbound Arlington Blvd (Route 50) just past Prosperity Avenue is closed due to flooding. Police told Tysons Reporter that they don’t have enough police to block the other side of the street, which also appears flooded.

Around 10:35 p.m., police said that all of the units in the county were currently deployed.

Fairfax County Police Department released a list of road closures. The ones closed due to flooding in the McLean Police District are:

1300 block of Kirby Road — damaged from flooding and will have a long-term closure

Shreve Road between Wieland Place and Buckelew Drive

Hilltop Road between Willomere and Old Lee Hwy

Meadowlark Road/Brookside Lane

Demsey Street/Old Chesterbrook Road

Old Courthouse and Besley roads

Georgetown Pike and Potomac River Road — one lane closed

6500 block of Old Dominion Drive

North Albemarle Street/Chesterbrook Road — flooding and debris

Westbound Arlington Blvd/Prosperity Avenue — one lane open

Jones Branch Road/Park Run Drive

Lewinsville Road/Lewinsville Mews Court

Beulah and Browns Mill roads

Oberon Way/Capulet Court

A fallen tree closed the 1400 block of Waggaman Circle, according to FCPD, but the road has since reopened.

People tweeted videos and photos of severe flooding along Georgetown Pike.

The City of Falls Church tweeted about several road closures and sinkholes in the city this morning.

Catherine Moran and Vernon Miles worked on this story.

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