On Sunday, an enormous rain storm in the Baltimore area wreaked havoc, causing devastating flash floods in a community just outside of Baltimore. These photos of Ellicott City, Maryland flooding show the extent of the damage caused by heavy rains in the flood-prone area.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the flooding in Ellicott City, which has a population of around 65,000, profoundly affected its main commercial area. As the newspaper reported, on Sunday, brown-colored water came tearing through Main Street. Floodwaters were so high that cars were submerged underwater and water overtook the first floor of various businesses.
According to CNN, there have not been any reports of fatalities or injuries, though there is extensive property damage. Tragically, for Ellicott City, Sunday's flood represents the second severe flooding event the city has had in two years. In July 2016, the city was also severely impacted by flash flooding that overtook Main Street. The 2016 flood killed two people and also caused significant property damage.
As CNN noted, many of the properties affected by Sunday's flood had just finally finished being rebuilt after 2016's flood. CBS Baltimore reported that Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman characterized this year's flood as "worse" than the 2016 flood. As Kittleman said:
It’s indescribable, it really was ... I don’t think I’m without exaggeration saying that this is worse than July 30, 2016. I can just tell you my heart is broken.
Baltimore residents who witnessed the flood also commented on the higher levels of water. Jessica Ur, a server at Pure Wine Cafe on Main Street, told the Baltimore Sun, “It’s significantly higher than it was before [in 2016]. ... At this point, I’m definitely really worried about all our neighbors on Main Street.”
As CBS Baltimore reported, Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan, issued a state of emergency for Howard County after the flash flooding occurred. CBS News reported that Hogan strongly encouraged Maryland's residents to be vigilant in the wake of the flooding. "The immediate focus is ensuring everyone is safe and secure," Hogan said. "I strongly urge all Marylanders to monitor the weather, heed all warnings, and avoid the affected areas."
The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services worked diligently to help those trapped by the flood on Sunday, with CBS Baltimore reporting that multiple rescues occurred. CBS News also reported that the city opened a shelter at a local community center for those needing refuge after the flood.
According to CBS Baltimore, both Governor Hogan and county executive Kittleman promised to assist in Ellicott's City's post-flood rebuilding process. The outlet reported that Kittleman said the city's residents and property owners are now "faced with the same daunting task [of rebuilding] again" and asserted that "we will be there for them as we were in 2016."
CBS Baltimore also reported that Governor Hogan, who visited Ellicott City on Sunday, asserted that its residents would be given “every bit of assistance we possibly can.” Hogan also commented on the rarity of having two devastating floods in such close succession, saying, “They say this is a once every 1,000-year flood and we’ve had two of them in two years.”
CNN reported that Kittleman declined to answer a reporter's question about whether or not anything could have been done differently to prevent Sunday's flash flood from occurring. The Associated Press also noted that some people have already been questioning whether enough was done post-2016 to preclude future flooding.
The AP noted that the state's governor, Hogan, said that some temporary fixes had been made, but that long-term solutions were still being implemented — and that Sunday's flood was very unexpected. It also reported that, just a couple weeks ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had awarded over $1 million to fix flood-prone areas around Main Street.
CNN revealed that the city's residents are rallying together around the motto, "Ellicott City Strong," using the phrase for encouragement during this very trying time.