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Remnants of Ian expected to soak DC area this weekend; Ocean City music festival canceled

FILE: A woman holds an umbrella amid rain and traffic at the intersection of Western Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest D.C.’s Friendship Heights neighborhood. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Remnants from Tropical Storm Ian, which slammed Florida earlier this week as a hurricane, are expected to bring boatloads of rain and potentially other nasty weather to the D.C. area this weekend.

The expected severe weather has led Virginia to declare a state of emergency and to the cancellation of a big music festival in Ocean City, Maryland, scheduled for this weekend.

Here’s what you need to know.

The first chance of rain in the immediate D.C. area doesn’t come until late in the day Friday, Storm Team4 meteorologist Mike Stinneford said.

But the rest of the weekend could be a washout. It’s expected to be rainy, breezy and cool Saturday and Sunday and the rain could be heavy at times, Stinneford said.

All told, the region could see 2 to 4 inches of rain by Sunday night.

“It has been abnormally dry the last month, and the ground will be able to absorb the first round of heavy rain on Saturday. Flooding could become an issue Saturday night into Sunday,” Stinneford said.

“The rain from the remnants of Ian may persist into Monday night or Tuesday.”

The National Weather Service calls it a “chaotic weather pattern” across the Mid-Atlantic region. Tropical Storm Ian is expected to head north and make a secondary landfall on Friday near the Georgia-South Carolina border. That’s what will bring moderate to heavy rain for most of the area — but especially central Virginia, the weather service said.

The weather service said there is the risk of scattered flooding especially late Saturday into Sunday and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and south of U.S. Route 50.

The rain is expected to stick around into Tuesday before the dry-out begins.

In Maryland

In Ocean City, Maryland, organizers of the Oceans Calling musical festival said Thursday they are making the “heartbreaking” decision to cancel the festival, citing the weekend’s expected severe weather.

“We hoped for a better outcome and are disappointed to share this news, however, the safety of our fans, artists and staff is our top priority,” organizers said in a statement posted online.

Organizers said a full refund would be issued to ticket purchasers within 30 days.

Ocean City officials say the resort town is expected to be hit with high winds and tropical storm conditions, including heavy rain and tidal flooding.

“We are extremely disappointed to cancel Oceans Calling Festival,” commented Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan. “We have been working closely with the event promotors since May 2021. Their hard work, and the hard work of our staff, were evident in every detail of the event planning and preparation. Although this is disappointing to all of us, we are already working with C3 Presents to bring Oceans Calling Festival back to Maryland’s Coast next year.”

Overall, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management said it is continuing to monitor the storm closely.

Along with the possibility of flooding, the department said periods of gale-force winds are possible at times through Monday, mainly for ocean beaches and south of Drum Point and Cobb Point, Maryland.

Meanwhile, officials in Calvert County in Southern Maryland, are handing out sand and sandbags to county residents who need them to prepare for possible flooding. The sandbags are being handed out at three locations. You can find more information on locations and hours on the Calvert County Government website.

In Virginia

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of possible effects from the storm, which allows the state to mobilize resources and equipment.

“We want to ensure that our communities have the resources needed to respond to and recover from any potential effects from the storm,” said Youngkin.

“We’re planning for rainfall projections anywhere from about two to more than six inches,” said Lauren Opett, spokeswoman with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The southern, central and eastern portions of the state are expected to get hit the hardest.

Officials with the Virginia State Police said all available state police personnel are on stand-by for routine and emergency duty across Virginia for the duration of the storm. Search-and-recovery teams are preparing to deploy to areas based on projected rainfall patterns, vulnerable flood zones and areas prone to storm surge.

The weather has prompted Virginia Beach to cancel the Neptune Festival, an annual festival that typically attracts more than 400,000 people.

The McLean Artfest, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2, in McLean Central Park, has been canceled, organizers announced. They said they were concerned the soaking rains could damage the artwork.

“It’s important to note that even when the storm exits, higher-than-normal tides could continue until Tuesday,” Opett said.

If you’re putting together an emergency kit, here are some tips on what to include and how to prepare.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.