OT: PatapscoMike and others in MD - you okay?

Many of the participants here have no doubt seen some of the news reports out of the Ellicott City, Maryland area where massive flash floods ripped through downtown, completely submerging stop signs, carrying away cars, and destroying a 300 year old building, among other effects.

IIRC, @PatapscoMike lives in the Ellicott City area.

While Ellicott City was ground zero for dramatic flood footage, there was a large area around it that experienced some incredible rainfall when some intense thunderstorms stalled out and just sat in the same place, dumping rain and more rain. Some areas received over 10 inches of rain in two hours.

There are at least a couple of other members here who live in the central Maryland area and some of them may have been in areas that experienced unusually heavy rainfall.

So this is just intended to ask if people are okay and check and make sure there isn’t someone in that area who suddenly went quiet when the floods hit. Also, if anyone has taken significant damage from the weather and could use a hand cleaning up or whatever, please feel free to speak up in case any of us are able to help.


Nice of you to think about me. I live three miles from the worst of the damage, which is very focused on Main Street in Ellicott City.

The rainfall totals have been very greatly exaggerated. They make it sound like the county got bibilical storms, but really it was a very small area of a few square miles between Ellicott City and nearby Catonsville that got severe rainfall- up to 9" in a few hours at the very heart of it. I’m just a few hundred yards from the Tiber Branch watershed that damaged the city, and I only got three inches during the storm. I’m sure of it as I have a calibrated rain gauge in a clear spot that I check every day. From my vantage point, it was a severe summer thunderstorm, but nothing crazy.

200 cars were destroyed, but it’s easy to get to high ground so the only fatality was a gentleman who tried to cross the floodwaters to help a woman who seemed to be trapped (she was OK).

It’s a terrible shame what has happened to Ellicott City in the last 20 years. It’s gone from being a somewhat sleepy cool old town to being basically Northern Virginia. Now I have to time my travel to avoid daily traffic jams on many of the area roads. ALL the big patches of woods have been cut down and replaced by big box retail, housing, etc. They did this on very steep slopes and it’s resulted in flooding that has destroyed the city three times since 2011. Shameful stuff has happened in the name of big money developers. I look forward to leaving when my kids are out of school.



You are absolutely correct about the poorly planned overdevelopment that surrounds old town Elicott City being the reason for the repeated flooding… and climate change. And I’ll leave it at that.

Glad to hear you are okay.

In Frederick County, we got blasted by the same stationary boundary last week. 10 inches in 3 days. 7 of those inches fell within 3 hrs. Most of Frederick City actually fared pretty well (because of decades of careful planning and engineering) but a few low lying areas got clobbered. One section of the city had greywater backup damage, and there were multiple incidents of flooded basements. Our main street was a river, but only a foot high, and only for about an hour. Much better than the standing 2 feet of water that used to routinely occur (see Hurricane Agnes) before city leaders hemmed in the banks of Carroll Creek, and installed spillways and collection traps.

My townhouse was built in the 1840s. It used to flood all the time. Ever since the engineering projects, it NEVER floods. Problem solved. It takes investment and public support of the public sector (yes— that means taxes!)… a belief in science and engineering… and it takes good honest political leadership.


Its funny when people, public sector, private sector work together how you can have great results. My father was born in Ellicott City, grew up in Catonsville and used to hitch hike to Frederick. As a kid I loved the stories he told me about the area, Ellicott City used to be a big mill town. I believe Dickies was the big employer. Glad I don’t live in that cluster %&^#@ of traffic and urban sprawl but I miss what I saw of the area when I lived in Catonsville as a kid.