WASHINGTON — After several days of rain and severe weather, residents in and around Frederick, Maryland, are being told to expect flooding through the weekend.
“We are going to continue to feel the effects of this weather,” said Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor during a Thursday news conference. “Our primary concern right now is the life, safety and the health of residents.”
People are being asked to stop washing dishes and clothing and to otherwise limit their water use in order to take pressure off the wastewater treatment plant.
There have already been reports of sewage backups around the city.
“Any amount of reduction of that wastewater that we can achieve would be beneficial for us,” said Zack Kershner, director of Frederick’s public works. “There is more rain in the forecast, unfortunately.”
The torrential rain that fell, particularly Tuesday night, was comparable to the historic flood in 1976 that led to millions of dollars in damage.
“The 1976 great flood occurred in 16 hours,” said Jack Markey, director of Frederick County’s emergency management. “Tuesday night we had that same amount of rain in about 3 hours.”
Markey said people should never drive through standing water, and he asked parents to tell their children not to play in it.
“Be ready to take care of yourself,” he said.
Michele Bowman with the Frederick Police Department delivered the same message.
“We are hopeful that the community really heeds our warnings,” she said. “You can come across a road that may not look like it has high standing water but 5 minutes later it’s completely flooded.”
At least 75 people have been rescued from cars that got stuck in high water, county leaders said.
Both the city and county have declared states of emergency.
“These declarations put us in line to be able to do what we need to do to try and get some assistance back to help our community recover,” O’Connor said.
For people who own homes and businesses, it has been a very difficult week.
“It’s just overwhelming,” said resident Beth McKew of the rain. “You just don’t know when it’s going to stop.”
McKew has been pumping several feet of water out of her house, and she said her property has tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
“The basement toilet was literally gushing, almost like a fountain,” she said. “It’s scary and it’s just extremely stressful.”
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