The Great Georgetown Flood of 2011

Yesterday, the Georgetown Harbour waterfront suffered a catastrophic flood. The flooding was a result of a 10 foot rise in the river level caused by last weekend’s rains, which made its way down toward the Chesapeake. Ordinarily this amount of flooding would cause the Washington Harbour to raise its flood walls. Yesterday, however, the walls were not up and by 10:00 in the morning, restaurants by the fountain began to get flooded.

By the afternoon, the scene became unreal:

Photo by Ed Solomon.

All of the restaurants facing the water suffered significant damages. It’s too early to tell know, but it will likely take weeks before these restaurants open again, which is a double hit since this is such a huge season for them.

The big question on everyone’s lips last night was of course: why the Hell weren’t the walls up? So far there are no answers to that, as WUSA reported:

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So the fingers are currently pointed at the management company. But it’s probably too earlier to be placing blame. As GM was leaving last night’s CAG meeting at the House of Sweden, the crews were still hard at work pumping thousands of gallons out of the building, all while a second high tide was cresting.

Some buildings up river suffered some flooding as well. The Washington Canoe Club had water up to its first floor:

Pretty much the same story at the Washington Boat Club:

Even with all of this damage, it probably nowhere near as bad as the floods of February 1918:



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12 responses to “The Great Georgetown Flood of 2011

  1. Liza


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  3. Charlie Eason

    I’m afraid your estimate of “weeks” for the restaurants to reopen is overly optimistic. With all that dirty river water in there I would guess it is more of a demo-and-rebuild situation as opposed to cleanup. I hope I’m wrong, and would expect that the City would try to expedite things. But you are talking building permits, Health Department inspections, etc.

    One thing you can bet on is that the lawyers and insurance companies will be at it for a long time to come.

  4. Zach D.

    And how about the hit to the property values? Did you see that beautiful Jag that was turned into a submarine? Look for new management, small damage claims that will be appealed for years, bankruptcy of the management company due to rising insurance rates. Hey, maybe I’ll finally get one of the units with a west-facing terrace! Is the Whitehurst Freeway getting torn down any time soon?

  5. Zach D.

    MRP Realty, remember the name.

    Three of the four pricipals there are former Trammell Crow Company guys. I wonder if any of them know how to work a sump pump? It should be easy for them to help with the financing to gut and rebuild that square footage. I think this may come down to their unwillingness to pay a property manager and a few guys overtime on a weekend. By partially raising the floodgates it shows a knowledge of the imminent threat of flooding and by not completing the task in a timely fashion shows negligence that may be criminal.

  6. Elise

    We had reservations for 60 in NOVEMBER that the restaurant canceled today due to flooding. If reservations are being canceled in April for November, opening in weeks is definitely too optimistic…

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  8. Unforgivable. No excuse for this. Heads will roll.

  9. carol Joynt

    Can’t help but feel for the businesses and residents. That entire complex was never right, from the get go. The whole thing should be taken down and rebuilt. Unrealistic, I know, but it has a lot of the same karma as Georgetown Park.

  10. Walter

    Supposedly one of the hardest hit restaurants will open for the season (warm weather) and close at the end of the season (cold weather) so that the new replacement interior can be installed.
    And riddle me this: whose idea was it to use sandbags and plastic sheeting to keep the Potomac out instead of raising the flood gates at the last five sections that were not raised?

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