USA – Evacuations After Floods in Maryland and New Jersey

Update: Authorities have confirmed that 2 people died in separate incidents the floods in Ellicott City. Both were in vehicles at the time.

Howard County officials estimate that around 250 homes and businesses have suffered flood damage in Ellicott City. Hundreds of vehicles have also been damaged.


Original report:

Storms dumping as much as 6 inches of rain in the space of a few hours caused flooding in parts of Maryland and New Jersey during the evening of 30 July, 2016.

Further severe weather warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service including a flash flood watch for parts of New York state.

Maryland

A state of emergency was declared in Howard County, Maryland, after 6 inches (150 mm) of rainfall in a few hours caused flooding in several areas including Ellicott City.

Governor Larry Hogan today signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Howard County beginning Sunday, in response to severe thunderstorms that occurred overnight and early morning of 31 July.

“We are coordinating all available resources to address this emergency as quickly as possible,” said Governor Hogan. “Our administration is working closely with local officials, including Howard County Executive Allen Kittleman, to respond to this major storm event. ”

Declaring a state of emergency will allow the County to access state resources to assist areas impacted by the flooding.

National Weather Service in Baltimore and Washington DC warned late on 30 July of a Flash Flood Emergency for Howard and South West Baltimore Counties.

In a statement early on Sunday, county officials warned of the threat of further flooding and requested those in affected areas to evacuate their homes.

“Residents living in the areas of Centennial, Lake Kittamaqundi, and Allview along the Little Patuxent River should move away from the river to higher ground. There still remains the potential for large volumes of water to be released and flood the surrounding area should an upstream dam fail.”

Several people were evacuated from their homes in Main Street Old, Ellicott City, according to Howard County officials. Howard County Fire and Emergency Services said they rescued over 120 people from flood waters, mostly in the Ellicott City area.

A statement from Howard County said:

“In Ellicott City, nearly six inches of rain fell between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Saturday evening. The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services rescued more than 40 people from the Phoenix Emporium at Main Street and Maryland Avenue and at least 80 others from their cars. Ellicott City’s Main Street suffered significant damage.”

Two centres, one in Ellicott City, the other in Columbia, were opened to accommodate those evacuated from their homes.

No injuries or fatalities were reported initially. However, since then there have been some unconfirmed reports of one fatality in Howard County and two people missing.

Some flooding was also reported in Baltimore. The Baltimore Fire Department said they carried out several flood rescues.

Rainfall

Unofficial rainfall measurements for a 7 hour period on the evening of 30 July, 2016:

  • Ellicott City – 6.04 inches (153.4 mm)
  • Woodstock – 5.69 (144.5 mm)
  • Columbia – 3.6 (91.44 mm)
  • Damascus (Montgomery County) – 5.1 (129.54 mm)

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New Jersey

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood emergency for northeastern Mercer County, especially Princeton and West Windsor during the evening of 30 July.

NWS said up to six inches of rain had already fallen with the worst flooding taking place between Princeton and Plainsboro.

West Windsor Township in New Jersey declared a state of emergency after flooding left cars stranded and roads submerged in water.

Areas of Princeton were also affected. Princeton, New Jersey police department said in a statement:

Heavy rainfall is causing localized flooding and hazardous conditions. Please avoid all hight water areas and do not attempt to traverse closed roadways. We are receiving reports of stranded vehicles attempting to navigate through high water.

Police said that several places were experiencing high water in the roadway and are impassable in spots.

Princeton University said that there was “Lots of flooding around campus, including the Wawa, which is closed temporarily.”

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Flood Summary

Last updated: August 3, 2016
Event
Maryland, USA, July 2016
Date
July 30 to July 31, 2016
Type
Flash flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
A state of emergency was declared in Howard County, Maryland, after 6 inches (150 mm) of rainfall in 2 hours caused flooding in several areas including Ellicott City.

Locations

Ellicott City

Magnitude

Rainfall level
153.4 mm in 24 hours
Ellicott City - July 30 to July 30, 2016
Howard County officials said most of the rain fell between 19.00 and 21.00 on 30 July, 2016.

Damages

Rescued
120 people
Howard County - July 30 to July 31, 2016
Buildings damaged
250 buildings
Ellicott City - July 30 to July 31, 2016
Fatalities
2 people
Ellicott City - July 30 to July 31, 2016