The climate crisis has led to an uptick in extreme downpours, since warmer air can hold more moisture, according to the National Climate Assessment. Meteorologist Alex Lamers said that Monday’s downpour had a less than 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.
In total, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport recorded 3.3 inches of rainfall between 9 and 10 a.m. and 3.44 inches total, according to The Washington Post. That number broke DC’s total rainfall record for the date, which was previously set at 2.16 inches. Other areas that recorded high rainfall totals included North Potomac, Maryland with 5.55 inches, Gaithersburg, Maryland with 4.64 inches, Oakton, Virginia with 4.93 inches and Arlington, Virginia’s Westover neighborhood with 4.5 inches.
The deluge delayed flights and trains, including six Amtrak trains stopped “due to flooding/washout conditions,” Amtrak spokesperson Jason Abrams told CNN.
The flooding was also a danger for commuters, closing several roads in downtown DC and surrounding areas and prompting multiple water rescues, AccuWeather reported.
One commuter posted a video to Twitter after driving through a flooded Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
“You’re going to need a boat,” they warned other commuters.
Department of Transportation & Environmental Services Deputy Director in Alexandria, Virginia Jeff DuVal told CNN it could take a while for the flooding to go down and roads to reopen.
“Even though the rain has slowed down, the intersections and roads will remain flooded because the drains simply can’t handle the volume of rain that’s being sent their way,” DuVal told CNN. “There is no way of knowing how long it will take for the flooding to subside.”
Underground transport was not spared, as social media users shared videos of water pouring into metro stations.
The flooding also reached the halls of power, causing leaks in the Pentagon and flooding in the White House basement.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr photographed water entering the second floor of the Pentagon from both rain dripping down from the fifth floor and the Potomac River seeping in from below.
“It’s official: The White House basement is flooding,” CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers tweeted.