2 dead after historic Md. town ravaged by floodwaters

Several inches of rain cause major flooding in Ellicott City

Photo Courtesy of WBAL

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — Howard County officials say the body of a second person has been found after flash flooding that devastated low-lying Ellicott City, Maryland.

County Executive Allan Kittleman said Sunday afternoon that the body of a man has been recovered. A woman’s body was found earlier Sunday. Kittleman says everyone else who was thought to be missing has been accounted for.

Kittleman says the damage sustained during the flooding Saturday night was the worst in at least 50 years and possibly the worst in the 244-year-old town’s history. He says virtually every structure and business along Ellicott City’s Main Street was damaged. He estimates the cost of the recovery will run into the tens of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The town was hit by roughly 6 inches of rain Saturday night.

Andy Barth, a spokesman for Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, told The Associated Press that two other people were missing after the town received nearly 7 inches of rain, including nearly 6 inches between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The body of a woman was recovered from the Patapsco River early Sunday, Kittleman told WBAL-AM.

Gov. Larry Hogan was touring the damage Sunday and declared a state of emergency, which will allow greater aid coordination and assistance.

Videos posted on social media showed floodwaters rushing down the town’s Main Street, which slopes toward the river, and sweeping away cars. Some vehicles came to rest on top of each other. Kittleman said the devastation was the worst he’d seen in 50 years living in the county, including Hurricane Agnes in 1972, which caused the river to overflow its banks.

“This is by far the worst devastation Ellicott City has seen in decades,” Kittleman told WBAL-AM.

Barth said all of the businesses along Main Street sustained extensive damage.

“In almost every case catastrophic, just gutted,” he said. “Everything in it has been swept out. All of the glass is broken, many of the sidewalks are out. It’s hard to believe.”

Barth said bystanders helped rescue some motorists who were at risk of being swept away while inside their cars, forming a human chain in at least one instance.

Ellicott City was established in 1772 as a mill town along the Patapsco, and many 18th and 19th-Century buildings were still intact before Saturday’s floods. Once a home to mill workers, in recent decades it has become known for restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and nightlife. Main Street slopes dramatically toward the river and has long been susceptible to flooding.

The county courthouse and government headquarters are located in Ellicott City but are on higher ground.

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