(ELLICOT CITY, Md.) — A deadly flash flood in Maryland killed two people and stranded more than 100 over the weekend, leaving behind a scene of devastation in a historic Maryland town that officials say could take months to rebuild.
Ellicott City — located roughly 14 miles west of Baltimore — was hit by nearly six inches of rain in less than two hours. Rising floodwaters ripped through buildings, carried away cars and caused the displacement of dozens of residents, according to Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
“Workers inspected approximately 200 properties in Ellicott City. Four to five of those properties are destroyed,” said Kittleman. “Another 20-30 suffered substantial damage. It has yet to be determined when individuals will be allowed to return to their homes and businesses.”
The bodies of the victims, identified as Joseph Anthony Blevins, 38, and Jessica Watsula, 35, were recovered after they were both swept away in separate incidents, according to Baltimore County officials.
The flooding was historic. The National Weather Service said the chances of such an extreme weather event are less than .01 percent, making it likely to occur just once in 1,000 years.
Historic rainfall rates and major flash flooding Saturday evening in the Ellicott City, MD area. pic.twitter.com/Y3az7XAOms
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) July 31, 2016
Videos posted on social media showed a torrent of water gushing down Main Street, carrying away dozens of cars. Some vehicles could be seen resting on top of each other.
— chris davis (@clewisdavis) July 31, 2016
One video posted to Facebook showed several people forming a human chain to rescue a woman from a car just as it was being lifted away by the raging current.
Governor Larry Hogan declared a State of Emergency for Howard County, making it eligible to receive state assistance and putting in motion the process to obtain federal disaster aid.
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