Ellicott City flood victims were single mother, University of Baltimore staffer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on flash flooding in central Maryland (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

After deadly floods in central Maryland, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman says he's tapped the county's planning department to draft a master plan to address flood-prone areas in order to prevent future disasters.

He said he believes nothing "could have stopped this tragedy," but that "it is an opportunity to make some changes."

Kittleman hosted a meeting Monday for residents impacted by severe flooding in Ellicott City.

So many people crowded into the community center Monday that attendees spilled into each of the rooms in the building to watch feeds of the meeting livestream on social media.

Kittleman said despite extensive storm and flood damage, "make no mistake: we will rebuild."


4:40 p.m.

The brother of a woman who died in a flash flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, says his wife and two other relatives were with her at the time but survived the ordeal.

Curtis Brubaker of Dover, Pennsylvania, said Monday that his sister Jessica Watsula left her 10-year-old daughter Sarah with him Saturday while she went to dinner with Brubaker's wife, his mother-in-law and his sister-in-law.

Brubaker says his wife Christina told him the women left the restaurant during a downpour, and got into Watsula's compact car.

He says the car was hit by a wave that pushed it down the road, and the women climbed out but soon lost track of each other.

He says his wife remembers Watsula saying, "God, help us! God, help us!" before she disappeared.


3:50 p.m.

A man killed by flash flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland, over the weekend was the director of financial aid at the University of Baltimore.

University President Kurt Schmoke (shmoke) and Provost Darlene Brannigan Smith said in a statement Monday that they are shocked and saddened by the death of 38-year-old Joseph Blevins of Windsor Mill.

Police say Blevins and his girlfriend were in a vehicle that got caught in the floodwaters Saturday night. She was rescued but he was swept away.

The university officials say Blevins started working for the school in 2008. They say he was known for his calm demeanor, sense of humor and helpful attitude.

They say Blevins believed strongly in the role of financial assistance in transforming students' lives.


2:10 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland is praising the bravery of those who formed a human chain Saturday to help rescue someone caught in the flood waters

Mikulski said Monday it "took my breath away." She toured Main Street in Ellicott City, where catastrophic flooding devastated local businesses and claimed two lives.

Mikulski said she is working with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to submit a request for federal assistance for individuals, businesses and the local government.

The Democratic senator addressed the media alongside Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, a Republican.

Kittleman said local authorities are working to open a disaster response center where residents hit by the flood can gather information.

He said they will make sure Ellicott City rises up to be even stronger and more vibrant."


1:20 p.m.

Maryland's lieutenant governor says state and federal officials are discussing disaster relief for Ellicott City after severe flash flooding.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said Monday officials are still assessing the damage so they can give information to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Rutherford, who has seen the damage and spoke to reporters outside the statehouse in Annapolis, says officials are looking at the structural integrity of buildings damaged by the flooding on Saturday. He says some buildings may not be repairable.

He also points out that much of the damage has been borne by small business owners, some of whom live above their stores and haven't been able to return home. He says state and local officials are working to help displaced residents.


10:00 a.m.

A pastor says a woman killed by flash flood waters in Ellicott City, Maryland, was the single mother of a 10-year-old girl.

The Rev. Dean Cover (COH'-ver) shared his memories of 35-year-old Jessica Watsula on Monday in a telephone interview from Living Waters Chapel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

He says Watsula and her daughter Sarah joined the Christian congregation about eight years ago. He remembers her as a gracious, upbeat woman.

Cover says Watsula worked in a shoe store in Lebanon. He says she was thrilled when she got the job in the past year because it enabled her to spend more time at home and at the church, where she volunteered in a child-care program.

Cover says Watsula also enjoyed working out at an area gym.


9:25 a.m.

Thirty-five-year-old Courtney Weglein was headed to Ellicott City's historic downtown in Maryland to meet friends Saturday night. But as she prepared to make a run for a friend's apartment in the rain, water rushing down the steep street suddenly became more furious, knocking her against the car and locking her keys inside.

When she got to Jonathan Butkus' second-floor apartment, Weglein says water was coming in and the landlord soon said people had to get out.

Outside, they found choppy water up to the hoods of cars and watched as Weglein's car slammed into another. They realized a teenage boy was in a nearby car and she captured video of Butkus carrying him to safety on his shoulders through knee-high water.

As water continued rising, Weglein says she hugged the others there and feared she'd never see her 2-year-old son again. When the water went down, they walked out to find incredible damage. "Then we found out people died and then it hit us."


7:10 a.m.

County and state officials in Maryland are gathering recovery resources for people affected by flooding over the weekend in Ellicott City.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford plan to attend the recovery and information session for residents and businesses Monday afternoon with representatives of county and state agencies and nonprofits offering resources.

Two people were killed when the town about 14 miles west of Baltimore took on 6.5 inches of water within hours Saturday night.

Kittleman said in a statement that more than 200 properties were inspected Sunday and four to five of them are considered destroyed and another 20 to 30 suffered substantial damage. He says many structures, sidewalks and roadways are still unstable and it's not clear when people will be allowed to return. Utilities have been shut down in the area while repairs are made.

In the meantime, county and state police have secured the area.


3:15 a.m.

The picturesque Main Street of Ellicott City, Maryland, faces a months-long recovery that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars after devastating flooding that damaged nearly every home and business along the road.

Two people were killed when the town about 14 miles west of Baltimore took on 6.5 inches of water Saturday night, most of it between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The floodwaters swept away hundreds of cars, tore up sidewalks and wrecked storefronts and building foundations.

Police say a Pennsylvania woman visiting the town with her family was one of those killed after their car was caught in the raging floodwaters and carried toward the Patapsco River.