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Severe weather brings flooding to Ellicott City again

Wednesday's storms saw some flooding in Ellicott City, an area with a history of devastating floods.

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Wednesday's severe weather brought rain, wind and possible tornados to parts of the the DMV.

In Howard County, Maryland, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Flash Flood Warning and a Tornado Warning for the county around 8 p.m. The rain and flooding forced a Halsey show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, to be canceled.

RELATED: Videos show flooding at Merriweather Post Pavilion as concert-goers wait for show

Elsewhere in Howard County, Ellicott City saw flooding of its own. 

The Howard County Police Department said in a tweet that numerous roads were closed in the Ellicott City area due to flood waters and trees down in the area. Main Street was closed as a precaution Wednesday night. All roads have since reopened.

Some Ellicott City residents shared video on social media of flood waters rising and overflowing banks.

Wednesday's flooding was minor when compared to Ellicott City's flood history.

Ellicott City has seen devastating flooding in the past. The town was the victim of catastrophic flash flooding in both 2016 and 2018.

On May 27, 2018, the skies opened up and dumped nearly 10 inches of rain across Ellicott City in a matter of hours.

The damage was unimaginable. Main Street looked more like a raging river. The flood waters took the life of Eddison Hermond. He was a 39-year-old  U.S. Air Force veteran and Maryland National Guardsman. His friends said he was trying to help a woman when witnesses said he was swept away by the fast-moving water.  

Two years earlier, in 2016, the Howard County town fell victim to another devastating deluge.

The flood from July 30, 2016, took two lives and caused millions of dollars in damage. The city received about 6 inches of rain in a couple of hours that day.

The reason why Ellicott City is prone to floods is because of how the town was built. 

The town is at the bottom of a hill, or in a valley. On top of that low elevation factor, there are three tributaries (creeks) that flow directly into the downtown area and into the Tiber River: The Tiber Branch, The Hudson Branch, and the New Cut Branch. These are not much more than a quiet stream of water on a sunny day, but in heavy rain events - water naturally rushes off the saturated ground, concrete, and grass into these creeks. The water levels quickly rise. They become rushing rivers in minutes.

In the years since those deadly flood events, the town has installed a flash flood alarm system, which could be heard Wednesday night. 

County officials said previous flooding disasters and systems put in place following those floods have helped them be better prepared for weather events.

“The systems that we put in place together worked as intended. Especially here in Ellicott City,” said County Executive Calvin Ball in a press conference Thursday. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made and will continue to work with a sense of urgency.”

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