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Monday, June 10, 2013

Roadways Known to Flood During Heavy Rains

Areas and roadways in Prince George's County that are prone to flash flooding include:

Brock Bridge Road near Laurel-Bowie Road (RT 197) Laurel

Areas along Route 1 and Main Street in Laurel

Baltimore Ave and Ammendale Road in Beltsville

Sunnyside Avenue between Rhode Island Ave and Edmonston Rd in Beltsville

Piney Branch Rd and New Hampshire in Adelphi

Portions of Riverdale Road in Riverdale Park

Governors Bridge Road at Anne Arundel/Prince George's County border.  Road is currently closed for bridge work (unrelated to this storm)

Water Street in Upper Marlboro

Marlboro Pike and Largo Rd in Upper Marlboro

Livingston Road and Oxon Hill Road in Ft Washington

Livingston Road and Palmer Road in Fort Washington

These roads should be avoided during periods of heavy rain and heed any signage posted.  Any and all roads could suddenly become overwhelmed by flooding waters. Do not drive through standing or swift moving water.

Flood Facts...

Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall or a dam failure. Flooding is a longer-term event and may last a week or more.

Most flash flooding is caused by (1) slow-moving thunderstorms, (2) thunder-storms repeatedly moving over the same area or (3) heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges.

Densely populated areas have a high risk for flash floods. The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground.

Water can erode the roadbed creating unsafe driving conditions.

Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are hard to see.

2 feet of water will float your car, truck or SUV!!! 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.

Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into a flooded underpass can quickly put you in 5-6 feet of water.

Flood Safety Tips...

Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift-moving floodwater. Remember, 2 feet of water will float your vehicle and 6 inches of fast moving floodwater can knock you off your feet. 

If you come upon floodwaters, STOP, TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY!! 

Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road.

If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Stay informed about the storm and possible flooding by listening to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio or television.


Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesman/PIO
Prince George's County Fire/EMS

Follow the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department on Twitter  at @PGFDPIO

Cheverly Resident Gives Back to Community via Fire/EMS Department

MEDIA CONTACT: Diane V. Cunningham, Assistant to the PIO, 301-883-5222

On the morning of Monday, November 7, 2011, Robin McClain awoke to a chill in her home.  She arose and went into her sister’s bedroom to put more wood on the smoldering embers in the fireplace.  Upon entering the room, her sister told her she smelled smoke.  Ms. McClain believed the smell was coming from the fireplace and expressed to her sister the same.  However, her sister, described by Robin as having “a very keen nose,” was quite adamant that it was not coming from the fireplace but somewhere in the house.  Because Robin neither saw nor smelled smoke, she did not give it anymore thought. 

After placing more wood on the fire, Robin left her sister’s bedroom and proceeded to the kitchen and immediately noticed smoke emanating from the vent.  Within a few seconds, the smoke alarm sounded. Knowing the layout of her home, she surmised the smoke had to be coming from the cellar.  She wondered if perhaps damaged wiring might be the cause of the smoke.  Arriving at the cellar, which could only be accessed from the outside, she opened the door and saw the flames.  Robin shut the door and quickly ran back to the house to alert her sister and call 9-1-1.  Her sister, who had initially smelled the smoke and then heard the smoke alarm alert, was already outside.  By now, the flames were leaping up around the window at the front of the house.

Before that fateful morning, Robin McClain had lived in her home in Cheverly for 30 years without incidence.  Twenty-six of those years she operated an in-home business, Sweet Bobbie’s Cake Creations.  Robin is famous for her “nonfat, low cholesterol” cakes that are made without milk or butter.  She even bakes vegan and gluten-free cake.  Robin boasts of a sizeable clientele so loyal, some who have moved away to other states have their cakes shipped to them. When I arrived for our interview, there was a plate of different cake samples awaiting me.  My order was placed before leaving her home. 

During her 26 years in business, Ms. McClain accumulated a rather extensive collection of tools for her craft.  Many of the items were purchased, some gifted, and a few likely passed down through her family.  But, fire is neither a respecter of person nor property; and all in its wake will be destroyed—regardless of its value, sentimental or otherwise.  Everything pertaining to her business and nearly all of her other possessions were lost as a result of smoke and fire damage.  As terrible as that sounds, it could have been much worse.

Robin McClain’s first warning came from her sister, who smelled smoke.  The smoke emanating from the kitchen vent and the simultaneous sounding of the smoke detector were her second warnings.  No one can say with certainty if Robin and her family would have made it out of the home in time had the fire occurred during the night when the family was sleeping.  It is certain, however, that their chances of escaping unharmed were significantly increased because there was a working smoking alarm in the home.  Actually, the McClain’s chances were even better because the family had on numerous occasions discussed a plan of escape in the event of a fire at their residence.  Each family member was well versed in the route they would take to get out of the house, as well as where they would meet to make sure every member was accounted for.  

In appreciation of the Fire/EMS Department’s efforts to educate the community on the benefit of having a working smoke alarm in their home, Robin McClain visited the Chapel Oaks Fire/EMS Station 838 and personally donated 4 battery-operated smoke alarms.  “I hope my donation will give one or two families a better chance for survival should they experience a home,” she said.  

County residents may request a smoke alarm and have the life saving device installed in their home, free of charge, by calling, 301-864-SAFE (7233).