Laurel homes, businesses evacuated as dams open

WASHINGTON – The mayor of Laurel has declared an immediate municipal civil emergency due to release of water from the T. Howard Duckett Dam.

City officials have initiated evacuations of the downtown historic district of Laurel.

“We have a breaking situation right now. The WSSC has been releasing water from the flood gates of the dam upstream from Laurel,” says Pete Piringer, public information officer for the city of Laurel.

“They found it necessary to open those up to release a higher level of water.”

Piringer says because of that, the Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe is evacuating parts of Main Street and and areas north of Main Street near Route 1.

“Anyone in that area should take action. We are taking aggressive action right now,” Piringer says.

People numbering in the hundreds will be affected by the evacuation and possible flooding, Piringer says. There are a mix of residences and businesses located in the evacuation area.

Those who travel I-95 south between the exits for 216 and 198 might be familiar with the T. Howard Duckett Dam, as it can be seen on the right side of the interstate in the area.

Piringer says flooding is possible in Laurel and into Upper Marlboro.

Officials have opened the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center, 7901 Cypress Street in Laurel, for folks affected by the evacuation.

WTOP will bring you more information as it becomes available.

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