Saturday's major flooding in Ellicott City is not the first time the mill town has seen an historic flood.

The town was built on a flood plain with three tributaries.

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The earliest recorded flood came in 1868, as Harper's Weekly reported at the time. The Patapsco River rose five feet in 10 minutes, killing 43 people, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Ellicott City weathered a half dozen more floods during the 20th Century, including one caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972. More than a foot of rain dropped. Seven people died and 700 were temporarily displaced, according to the Washington Post.

During Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, a flash flood took over the town's streets, devastating homes and businesses.

After that, the county commissioned an engineering study to figure out how to protect the town from more flooding.

According to WBAL, the study concluded the best bet was to build storm water management ponds, but even that would only help a little. The town is basically a funnel, sitting on steep hills with a stream that feeds a river running through.

Deanne Lenehan Cunningham's decorative painting studio took on four feet of water this weekend.

There are a few things the county, state and federal government can do to help, she said, from retaining ponds to curbing development and installing building regulations.

Whether or not the town’s infrastructure can handle the decimation, if anything, it seems the towns people certainly can.


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Ellicott City residents dealing with damage after flash flooding

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