Ellicott City prepares as threat of heavy storms brings flooding concerns to region

- Another round of slow-moving storms is expected to impact the D.C, Maryland and Virginia area Thursday prompting officials in flood-ravaged Ellicott City to plan ahead for the possibility of another deluge.

A Flash Flood Watch has been put into place until 2 a.m. Friday. There is the potential for several inches of rain to fall from mid-afternoon to about midnight.

The heavy rain that moves through the area is expected to be a slow moving system of thunderstorm which could produce a 'training' effect similar to the storms that flooded the historic mill town on Sunday.

Crews in Ellicott City worked throughout Thursday afternoon to make sure that the waterways are cleared of debris.

“I would say there has probably been 100 trucks worth of material taken out. That is between sand, rocks, tree stumps, building debris and all kinds – everything you can think of has pretty much been in that stream in the last week,” said Jim Irvin, director of Public Works for Howard County.

Between two and four inches of rainfall could been seen in the hardest hit areas as the storm moves through the region, said Ryan Miller, Emergency Management Director for Howard County, at a press conference on Thursday. He said it is difficult to tell which regions will be the hardest hit.

Irvin said that since Sunday's storm, crews have been working to clear debris that blocked drainage channels allowing storm water to flow into the Patapsco River. Irvin said trees, clothing and stones have been removed from the drainage channels. He said crews were able to preserve historic mill stones that had been washed away during the flood. He said crews have also worked to place temporary sandbags along parts of roadways to direct water into the storm drain system.

While it is unclear where the heaviest of the rain will fall, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said they were suspending visits to the flood damaged parts of town by business owners and residents for the rest of the day.

Kittleman and Councilman Jon Weinstein said that both have worked to strengthen the storm water regulations on new development in the area and already existing developments.

"I think it's very clear, we said this back in 2016, if you get six inches of rain in two hours, very little can really be done. We can make it less impactful but we're not going to stop all flooding if you have something like that,” Kittleman said.

"We can't give the assurances to people that, ‘Hey, if we have eight inches of rain, nothing will happen,'” Kittleman added. "We just can't do that. And my heart aches when I tell you that - when I tell them that - because I want to tell them that it will always be okay.”

Kittleman said the county is working the best it can to mitigate the flooding problems. Weinstein added that there are no guarantees that flooding won't impact the region again.

Kittleman said moving forward, discussions with residents and business owners will be held to evaluate the issues the historic town faces.

Sunday's storm caused catastrophic damage to homes and businesses along historic Main Street. The second major flood in less than two years left 39-year-old Eddison Hermond, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard, dead after he was swept away by the raging waters.

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