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Old Town Alexandria businesses bracing for remnants of Hurricane Ian

Businesses along South Union Street and King Street are planning to lay out sandbags for what could be a couple days of showers in the region.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Restaurants and shops along the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront are preparing for what is left of Hurricane Ian to hit Virginia, leading to potential flooding.

Businesses along South Union Street and King Street are not strangers to flooding, but some employees say they are concerned about how consistent rain throughout several days could impact the already flood prone area. 

On Aug. 10, a flash flood caught many by surprise, including a driver who was forced to turn around because of the rising standing water, and employees of a clothing store that are seen placing tarps and sandbags along their doors to stop the water from coming into the historic building.

"We look at the tide chart, just to make sure we see what the levels are going to be," said Diane Bird, general manager to the Old Town Shop on South Union Street. She says that vehicles driving through standing water tends to pose the biggest threat for water to seep into the building. 

"We are told that if it gets to a certain level, around five feet, that's when we need to worry," Bird told WUSA9. She says she is not concerned about the weekend rain because the business is equipped with flood gates. 

"We have flood gates for our doors that we just slip down into place and screw in and that helps keep the water out," said Bird. 

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Flash floods like the one experienced on Aug. 10 tend to be the most difficult for businesses, according to several of the managers that spoke to WUSA9. Mainly because they have little to no time to prepare for the rainfall and the quick rising water levels. 

Mia's Italian restaurant on King Street has some sandbags ready to be placed along one of the doors that gets the most water.  

Although the majority of businesses plan to stay open throughout the storm. Alexandria City says they will close streets to traffic like South Union Street which runs along the waterfront if the flooding poses a threat to drivers and pedestrians in the area. 

RELATED: Severe weather recap: Strong storms lead to flooding, downed trees in the region

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