Ellicott City cleans up as it waits for federal assistance

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Looking down onto Main Street, neighbors gathered near the Circuit Court to watch the activity in the storm-ravaged downtown that flooded Saturday night.

Three days after many shop owners lost their livelihoods, yellow police tape marks the Historic Downtown area. Holding a pen he bought at a Ellicott City shop, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin recalled visiting a much different town on Small Business Saturday.

“It just breaks your heart. I went into … no, I just looked into one of the shops. I couldn’t go in because it’s not safe. And just to see the devastation and recognizing that people are going to have a hard time. They know that,” Cardin said.

The impact of the deluge still lingers, even after several days have passed. Downed trees, guardrails sinking into the river bed and planks of siding pulled off homes dot the area hit hardest by the six inches of rain. And a light brown silt the river left behind covers the roads.

The state has applied for a state of emergency to get access to federal help in the cleanup and stabilization of the town.

“If you look at the devastation here, there is clearly a need for a federal response and we will do everything we can to get a federal response,” said Cardin of the federal delegation, which he said plans to support any effort for emergency assistance.

FEMA advanced crews are already on the ground and Cardin’s office said more workers are expected to arrive Wednesday.

The clean up so far has been significant, with 238 cars towed from the downtown area.

“There are still some cars in the river; we saw them in the Patapsco River. There’s a lot of work to be done. We’re also putting a high priority on allowing people to come in and get some of their personal effects they haven’t had in a couple days,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.

Two people lost their lives in what the locals are calling the thousand year flood. Search crews completed the second search for victims Tuesday. Kittleman said there are no reports of any missing people, which has leaders hopeful the death toll will remain the same.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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