State of emergency extended in Howard County

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — With more rain in the forecast, Howard County on Friday extended the state of emergency in Ellicott City, following Sunday’s massive flooding that destroyed businesses, homes and cars along Main Street.

The Howard County Council voted to extend it by 30 days, to July 3.

The council resolution extends an executive order issued on May 27 by Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman that would expire Sunday without council action.

The state of emergency allows the county to activate whatever resources are necessary to protect the public and property under applicable state and local emergency plans.

Howard County’s Director of Emergency Management Ryan Miller told the council the extension was needed because the scope of the damage is so great.

“At this time at least 89 businesses have been affected. along with 76 single-family homes, and 11 multi-family homes,” said Miller.

In the hardest hit area, “Damage to buildings and infrastructure along Main Street is significant: At this point, there are 14 buildings that have been deemed inaccessible, due to missing flooring and foundation damage.”

The state of emergency will allow the county to limit access in the fenced-in area of Main Street, as well as restrict vehicle and foot traffic along several routes that lead to the historic district.

Miller said the emergency measure will allow repairs to infrastructure to continue, without the impediment of people who aren’t residents or business or building owners.

With safety as his primary responsibility, Miller told the council that new risks present themselves as crews continue to work on Main Street.

“Just yesterday, we found some propane tanks that began to leak, underneath a building,” Miller said. “We’ve moved from life safety to incident stabilization, and now even on Day 6, there are still areas that are quite hazardous.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted joint preliminary damage assessments Thursday. The assessments are a key component to the city’s recovery.

“Our administration is committed to helping those impacted by the recent devastating floods recover as quickly as possible,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news release. “I have directed the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to work closely with regional representatives from FEMA to seek all available assistance to support our public safety partners and our citizens who were affected as they work to rebuild.”

Sunday’s flash flooding was the second flooding event to destroy the downtown area in three years.

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