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12-Year-Old Jack Donaldson Dead Due To Flooding

3:20 PM, Sep 9, 2011   |    comments
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VIENNA, Va. (AP) -- A boy died in rising floodwater's in Fairfax County as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee sent torrential rains streaming into northern Virginia, officials said.

Fairfax County police say 12-year-old Jack Donaldson was swept away by an overflowing creek while playing in his backyard around 6 p.m. Thursday. The creek ran behind the family's home on Marcliff Ct. Lexis Nexis.

Donaldson's body was found nearby less than two hours later.

Dan Schmidt, spokesman for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said creeks in the county have swollen out of their banks in the rain.

"Doing anything other than respecting the water rolling through creeks would not be prudent," he said. "People need to stay inside or go to high ground."

Police say there were numerous reports throughout the county of cars stuck in rising waters and that first responders had difficulty at times getting to the scenes quickly.

Neighbors in a heavily wooded, hilly neighborhood said the area frequently floods but that Thursday's storm was the worst they had seen, far worse than Hurricane Irene. "You look down and it just rages," said Alicia Utate, 32, whose home backs up to part of the creek that contributed to the flooding.

Parts of the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County were shut down because of high water in the county. Residents were urged to stay off the roads.

Officials urged residents on four streets in the flood-prone Huntington section of the county to evacuate Thursday night, said county spokesman Glenn Barbour. A reception area was set up at Lee District Park for displaced residents.

And the rains forced numerous closures on major commuter routes, including two spots on the Capital Beltway in the Alexandria and Springfield areas, Barbour said, causing major traffic tieups.

Late Thursday, officials announced Fairfax County public schools would be closed. Government offices will be open, but employees were granted unscheduled leave.

Heather Sheffield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the northern Virginia area had gotten 13 inches of rain in the past two days.

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