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Heavy floods crash into Ellicott City, leave major damage

Storms brought heavy flooding Saturday night to Ellicott City, Maryland, hitting Main Street hard and damaging cars, roads, businesses and homes. See photos and videos.

Updated: July 31, 6:20 p.m.

The Baltimore County Police Department has identified the victims of Saturday night’s flooding as 35 year-old Jessica Watsula of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and 38 year-old Joseph Anthony Blevins of Windsor Mill, Maryland.

Watsula had been visiting Ellicott City with her family when the flooding forced them to abandon their car. Her family members were all rescued, but Watsula was swept away by the water, her body found around 2:20 Sunday morning.

Blevins was in the car with his girlfriend when the water rose. She was able to get out of the car and to safety, but Blevins was swept away with the car. His body was found around 8:30 Sunday morning.

Earlier: July 31, 1:20 p.m.

WASHINGTON —Stormy weather brought rain and flash flood warnings to many Maryland counties Saturday night, including Howard County. The weather’s impact hit hard in Ellicott City where severe flooding killed one woman and brought extensive damage to vehicles, roads, homes and businesses.

The body of a woman was recovered from the Patapsco River early Sunday and police announced Sunday afternoon that a man also died. Two other people were missing after the town received nearly 7 inches of rain. Some 120 people were rescued during the flooding, said Andy Barth, a spokesman for Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman.

Gov. Larry Hogan was touring the damage Sunday and declared a state of emergency. Kittleman also urged citizens not to try to come to downtown Ellicott City. “Let us do the work,” he said.

Kittleman said that many businesses are nearly completely destroyed, especially those at the bottom of the hill. Crews are checking buildings for structural soundness but Kittleman fears a lot of buildings are going to have to come down.

The damage, Kittleman said, has to be seen to be believed.

“There are cars on top of cars,” he said, as well as cars on top of a dumpster, a car on top of a deck behind a house and even trees inside businesses. Some roads have also collapsed and some sidewalks are gone.

“There’s debris everywhere,” Kittleman said.

Ellicott City was established in 1772 as a mill town along the Patapsco, and many 18th and 19th-Century buildings were still intact before Saturday’s floods. Once a home to mill workers, in recent decades it has become known for restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and nightlife. Main Street slopes dramatically toward the river and has long been susceptible to flooding.

The Roger Carter Center is open as an emergency shelter for people who need to shower, use the restrooms or charge mobile devices.

Centennial Park is closed.

WBAL-TV reported that the city’s Main Street had “collapsed” and photos from Twitter document large holes left in the street as the water receded. During the flooding, the water reached waist-level for some residents and some people had been trapped in cars, WUSA9 reported.

Kittleman released a statement on Facebook urging residents living in some areas along the Little Patuxent River in the county to move to higher ground away from the water.

Follow the Howard County Government Twitter account for updates on emergency areas.

Local businesses along Main Street plan to remain closed.

Dennis Foley, Abigail Constantino, Teta Alim and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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