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Hard Hit Neighborhood Keeps Eye On Tropical Storm | News

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Hard Hit Neighborhood Keeps Eye On Tropical Storm

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- There's still time to get your home ready for the worst of the rain that's headed our way.
People across the region have been clearing drains and checking their gutters. In the Belle View neighborhood south of Alexandria, they have way too much experience with flooding.

Tropical Storm Nicole is no Hurricane Isabel, but when people in this neighborhood hear the words "tropical storm tracking west of DC," they remember how Isabel's winds pushed the Potomac up over the GW Parkway, flooding dozens of homes in an area that's so low it's a bit like a bathtub.

There was six feet of water in the Shell gas station service bay.
And a bunch of  houses were so badly damaged they had to be torn down. 

Just like this storm, forecasters were out ahead of Isabel.
Trouble was not everyone was paying attention. "Unfortunately... a lot of people didn't evacuate when they should have and they ended up in significant danger," says John Giglio of the New Alexandria Citizens' Association.

In 2003 police and fire crews started rolling through Belle View before midnight, ordering everyone out... but not everyone listened. "It was incredible. At three am, we still had neighbors waiting to be rescued by the Fairfax Fire Department," says Giglio. 

No one is expecting Nicole to smack us that hard, but crews in Alexandria are clearing storm drains. There's not much they can do about the Potomac tidal surge that you can already see in some catch basins. But they can at least make sure the huge amount of rain we're expecting has someplace to go.

Old Town Alexandria has had more than it's share of pain...
There have been times when you needed a canoe to get your morning coffee at Starbucks. And there have been floods going back as far as anyone can remember.

Lots of people are hoping this isn't another one. "We need the rain, but not that much, in that short a time," says Lawrence Miller of Alexandria.

It's a good idea at this point to just walk around your home and take a look. If your up to it, clear out your gutters, so the rain doesn't roll of them and flood into your basement. If you have a drain in your yard, you may want to clear it out. And it's going to be windy, so you may just want to take a look at your lawn furniture and make sure it's not going to blow all over the place.

Written by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com