The pictures looked a little like Houston after it was hit by Harvey. There were people rescued from attics by firefighters in inflatable boats. A car dealership lost dozens of vehicles to flood waters.

But it wasn’t Texas. It was Upper Marlboro on September 8th, 2011, after first Hurricane Irene and then Tropical Storm Lee dropped more than two feet of rain on Central Maryland.

“This is how high the flood got,” says Mike Kress, pointing to a paint mark on the inside of his family business. “Four feet, eight inches.”


Marlboro Tire and Auto was among the hardest hit. In minutes, the water went from lapping at the door to flooding the inside.

He raced to save his customer's cars and his computers and expensive diagnostic gear. He says the structure is built like a concrete swimming pool

“And if Irma comes and puts a foot of rain here?” I asked him. “I might just brick up the doors and windows and put up a few diving boards.”

Kress is now constantly checking the rain totals and flood warnings. He says the county has been better at using it's flood gates.

His business recovered, but he knows tropical storms can bring disaster.

“I'm smiling. You probably think I'm crazy. I'm so lucky we had only a couple of dozen buildings flooded and only five feet. This disaster in Houston, oh my goodness!”

He's hoping Irma doesn't bring even more pain.

Prince George's County emergency managers say they're watching Irma and hoping, like most of us, that it will track farther east.