WASHINGTON — No other food can arguably win the hearts of people in the DMV than crabs.
The Municipal Fish Market at the Wharf in Southwest D.C. draws many people on a daily basis clamoring for all things crabs and other seafood. It came as no surprise to workers that despite flooding, many still waited in line for their food.
The National Weather Service predicted the worst coastal flooding in at least 10 years on Friday. Parts of the DMV were underwater with the strength of strong gusts and high water levels along the tidal portion of the Potomac River and the western side of the Chesapeake Bay.
Even though the fish market has flooded at least twice every year, workers such as Antonio Sanabria said he has never see levels so high. Captain White's Seafood had to close for the day with some of the workers wading through water wearing garbage bags or using a boat to get out.
"It came out of nowhere and we thought we would be prepared, but I think we pretty much got it," Sanabria said. "We've tied down all the boats, we got brand new rigs throughout the boat and tied everything down brand new last night."
The area was already flooded a few hours before high tide after 3 p.m.
Two other businesses were able to stay open as workers used planks or walk through water with rain boots to reach customers waiting on the edge of the waterline.
Longtime customers like Donna Henderson visited the market to get crab dip from Captain White's Seafood. Even though they were closed, her enthusiastic determination to get her favorite item echoed the streets.
"The Wharf is underwater but it won't stop me from getting my crabs," Henderson told WUSA9. "I'm willing to swim over there for those good crabs."
The Wharf has been prone to flooding, but the Wharf Association pointed out how many businesses along the waterfront were spared.
"It pays to be prepared," Patrick Revord of the Wharf Association explained. "The barges down here at the Municipal Fish Market actually float on the water but it's a historic area so we weren't able to raise the pier that they sit in front of. However, all of the rest of the constructed areas of the Wharf, we were able to elevate during construction so they're not flooding right now."
Revord said with flooding likely in the future, the goal is to continue to build elevated areas alongside installed flood barriers that act as gates to existing businesses that do not float.
Floodwaters receded by 7 p.m. The next high tide at the SW waterfront is around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday.