Canoers spotted in submerged streets as Mid-Atlantic sees worst coastal flooding in years

Old Town Alexandria. Virginia, is recording its highest tide since Hurricane Isabel in 2003

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Canoes have been the only way to get around in the flooding in Old Town Alexandria, where they are reeling from its worst tidal flooding in nearly 20 years

The Virginia city is recording its highest tide since Hurricane Isabel in 2003. On Friday, significant street flooding in Old Town Alexandria forced many streets to close and businesses employed the use of sandbags to keep rising waters at bay.

Keith Harmon and Heidi DeuPree paddled through deep floodwaters in their canoe on Friday. As they maneuvered through the streets, they docked at the Union Street pub, where the bar manager extended them curbside cocktails while in their vessel.

Harmon told Alexandria Now that this wasn’t the first time he had taken his canoe out on the road in Old Town.

"This is the second time for me. The last time was about four years ago," Harmon said.

"These are very, very significant high levels," Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson told FOX 5 in Bethesda, Maryland. "This is going to flood up onto the street, onto the shoreline, as it already is, and it’s going to affect a lot of basements and first-floor areas on these buildings."

Wilson said the city is prepared to help with clean-up Saturday when the water recedes.

The National Weather Service has implemented a flood watch for Maryland, Washington, DC, and parts of Virginia. 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for areas along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and the Atlantic Coast, which are currently under a Coastal Flood Warning from the National Weather Service.

Cambridge, Maryland, resident Melissa Wise lives right by the water. She was hit hard when Hurricane Isabel came.

"During Isabel, the water was up probably about halfway of this block," Wise said. "We have a full basement that you can stand in. That basement was mostly flooded, and the furnace was floating in the basement. We had to run a gas-powered pump to keep the water just from doing more damage. So, yeah, I have been checking all day, and it didn't look so bad. Now, it looks pretty bad."

According to the NWS, the highest tides in 10-20 years are expected, with threats including the inundation of water on roads, sidewalks, docks, marinas, and residential and commercial areas.

Similar flooding was reported in Washington, DC, including areas around the National Mall. WTOP News’ Valerie Bonk captured video of workers at The Wharf using boats to get back and forth to restaurants surrounded by floodwaters.

Tidal flooding is also overwhelming Annapolis, Maryland, where the City Dock was swamped by more than four feet of water. Problems have also been reported across the city, including on the United States Naval Academy.

According to the NWS, as of Friday night, the majority of the rainfall for the state had passed. 

Coastal flood advisories are still up across the region Saturday morning, including Ocean City, Maryland, where floodwaters flow freely through the streets. A flood advisory remains in effect there until 9 p.m. Saturday.