The Potomac River neared a flood state Tuesday (Jan. 26) and forced authorities to order the evacuation of Brunswick Family Campground, according to the Frederick (Md.) News-Post.
The Potomac rose to 20.2 feet at 4 p.m., according to a water gauge at Point of Rocks, said National Weather Service meteorologist Howard Silverman. The river was expected to crest as high as 21.6 feet before sunrise this morning, he said.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for most of the Potomac basin within central Maryland, he said.
“The active flood warnings right now for the Potomac basin are Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Point of Rocks and Little Falls,” he said.
The warning prompted Brunswick officials to evacuate the municipally owned campground, said Councilman Walt Stull.
“We towed the (office) trailer and hot water heaters out of the bathhouse,” he said. “We called AmeriGas and had them pull out their two propane tanks.”
The campground is closed for the winter, but its caretaker lives in a trailer on the grounds.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday the caretaker called Linda Hoover at work and told her to come back, they had to move their trailer.
“I left for work at 4:30 in the morning,” Hoover said. “The river was up to the boat ramp.”
The river started edging up the boat ramp over the next several hours, then “whoosh.” It swallowed the boat ramp and parking lot, Hoover said.
She stared at the ankle-deep water.
“This happened in the last couple of minutes,” she said.
She headed toward her car, noting the river usually floods the entrance near the water treatment plant first. The campground is accessed from a parking lot at the end of South Maple Avenue.
Airport Drive, which runs parallel to the C&O Canal towpath, was submerged. Picnic tables in the campgrounds protruded from a pool of water amid a grove of trees.
It is up to the National Park Service to close the access road, Stull said. As of Tuesday evening, it was still open.
“It’s hard to say how long the park will be closed,” Stull said. The campground is typically open from early April to early November.
If the water is as high as predicted, the campground could be quite muddy, he said.