The swift Potomac River beat faulty human technology or vigilance during the morning of April 18, as its waters reached high tide and crested slightly over its banks. (A weather alert had been issued for high water.)
In the case of Washington Harbour on the Potomac, with its dock and walkway leading back into a lower semicircle of restaurants, this lapping wave proved disastrous. Not all of the floodwalls had been raised to protect the complex; such a failure has never occurred in the K Street complex’s 22-year history. Water poured down around the steps to the fountain, flooding restaurants, offices, shops, parking garages, and damaged electric and gas utilities. Popular eateries, such as Nick’s Riverside Grill, Tony and Joe’s, Sequoia and Fishers & Farmers, were flooded with up to 12 feet of water. Offices were evacuated, condo residents left because of lack of power and recovery units arrived to pump water out of the complex and back onto the drains of 30th Street near the Swedish Embassy. Washington Harbour’s management company, MRP Realty—founded by Robert Murphy and two other former Trammell Crow executives—is responsible for the damage. On the scene were Metro Police, DC Fire, US Park Police, Secret Service Police as well as disaster expert Rolyn Companies, headquartered in Rockville, Md.