Massive floods strike Ellicott City; State of Emergency declared

abandoned vehicles in high water in Ellicott City, Maryland
Several abandoned vehicles are enveloped by flood waters in Ellicott City, Md., on Sunday, May 27, 2018. Howard County officials have advised people to seek higher ground immediately and have warned drivers not to to attempt to drive through high water. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
People have been urged to avoid Ellicott City, Md., which has been placed on a flood emergency. Officials say flooding is on par with a 2016 storm that led to two deaths. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A red vehicle abandoned in floodwaters
Flood waters fill the streets of Ellicott City, Md. on Sunday, May 26, 2018 after more than 7 inches of rain fell over the course of a few hours. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Flooding overtakes Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland, after heavy rains and storms on Sunday, May 27, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Flooding overtakes Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland, after heavy rains and storms on Sunday, May 27, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Mike Stinneford said this flood may be worse than the Ellicott City flood from two years ago that left two dead and multiple businesses with damage. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Mike Stinneford said this flood may be worse than the Ellicott City flood from two years ago that left two dead and multiple businesses with damage. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency following the flooding. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency following the flooding. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration’s CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration) (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration’s CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration) (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration’s CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration) (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
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abandoned vehicles in high water in Ellicott City, Maryland
A red vehicle abandoned in floodwaters
Flooding overtakes Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland, after heavy rains and storms on Sunday, May 27, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Mike Stinneford said this flood may be worse than the Ellicott City flood from two years ago that left two dead and multiple businesses with damage. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency following the flooding. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)
A photo from MDOT State Highway Administration's CHART units in Ellicott City. (Courtesy MDOT State Highway Administration)

WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency following massive flooding in Ellicott City on Sunday.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency. Officials urged residents to seek higher ground immediately.

NBC Washington’s Darcy Spencer told WTOP that people were trapped in buildings on Main Street and downtown Ellicott City.

Spencer also said as of 9 p.m. Sunday, there were no reported fatalities.

The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services tweeted that multiple rescues were carried out, and rescue swimmers were called in to help. The department also said swift water units from as far away as Northern Virginia were coming to help.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had awarded the state $1,044,224 for flood-mitigation efforts in Ellicott City earlier this month.

Maryland State Police said the portion of Interstate 695 between Interstate 70 and Washington Boulevard was also flooded.

National Weather Service Doppler Radar suggests more than 9.5 inches of rain has fallen in past several hours, according to Storm Team4’s Mike Stinneford.

Stinneford said the rain has caused the Patapsco River to come “rampaging through the Main Street, very similar to what happened two years ago on July 30.”

He said this flood may even be worse than the 2016 flooding.

In a tweet, Howard County government said the flooding was on the same scale as a deadly 2016 storm. On July 30, 2016, flood waters ripped through Ellicott City’s historic downtown. Two people died as a result.

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, who spoke to WTOP from the county’s emergency operations center, characterized the flooding as “very bad.”

He said there have been no reports of injuries but also said the situation was still developing and that more rain was expected.

“We’re just asking people to not come to Ellicott City,” Kittleman said. “Get off the roadways so that our emergency vehicles can get there when they need to.”

The Roger Carter Community Center, at 3000 Milltowne Drive, was opened up to residents in need of shelter.

As the flooding progressed, flurry of videos and pictures were posted on social media, including this Periscope tweeted at around 6:30 p.m. (Warning: The Periscope contains some strong language).

The D.C. area braced for flash flooding as heavy rains moved through the D.C. region on Sunday. In Howard County, NWS said Ellicott City, Catonsville, Woodlawn, Arbutus, Ilchester and Oella were expected to experience flooding.

Flash flooding warnings were also issued for Frederick and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano, Dave Dildine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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