After a night of horrific flash floods that killed two people, carried away dozens of cars, and left local businesses and brick sidewalks gutted, residents of Ellicott City, Md., came together on Sunday to support those rebuilding what was pushed downriver.
Though thunderstorms touched cities nearby, downtown Ellicott City was hit hardest, receiving six inches of rain within a two-hour period. The rain raised the Tiber River, already high from 1 to 4 inches of rain last Thursday, causing it to overflow its banks and run into the low-lying Main Street, according to WBAL-TV 11 Weather meteorologist Tony Pann.
As many as 14 to 16 people were reported missing after the floods, according to County officials, but have now been accounted for. “We have been receiving dozens of emails and posts from individuals who would like to volunteer to rebuild Main St. The kindness of the residents in Ellicott City and the surrounding region is overwhelming,” Jon Weinstein, Howard County council member, posted on the Ellicott City Historic District Facebook page.
First responders and brave citizens saved around 150 people during the flood, according to The Ellicott City Patch.
Community members were downtown on Sunday with ice and bottled water. Many were also dropping off supplies and signing up to volunteer to help businesses and residents rebuild, according to a Facebook post by Jake Smith, resident of Ellicott City on Sunday. Sorrento of Arbutus, whose town neighbors Ellicott, donated 40 pizzas to first responders continuing to survey and search.
"People's lives in this community are going to be changed forever," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said on Sunday to WBAL-TV 11.
Despite concern and curiosity, first responders and city officials asked residents to keep a safe distance from Main St. Sunday morning. “We kindly ask that you refrain from trying to visit the town at this time,” Ellicott City posted on its Facebook page at 1 a.m.
Governor Hogan signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Howard County Sunday morning that went into effect at 10 a.m.
“We are coordinating all available resources to address this emergency as quickly as possible,” said Governor Hogan, according to a press release. “Our administration is working closely with local officials, including Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, to respond to this major storm event.” Both Hogan and Mr. Kittleman visited the town Sunday Morning, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Unsafe conditions present Sunday morning included gas leaks, live electric lines, potential sewage and hazardous material leaks and spills, and unstable ground and buildings.
In the meantime, the Ellicott City Partnership has created a page where anyone can donate to support merchants and residents.
The region is expected to get scattered storms Sunday evening, with the possibility of heavy rain, according to WBAL-TV 11.