Torrential rains turned the streets of a Baltimore suburb into a maze of raging rivers over the weekend, causing severe flooding that left at least two people dead and up to 16 missing.
Nearly six inches of rain — almost a month's worth — fell in Ellicott City, Maryland on Saturday between 7 and 9pm. The downpour caused the worst flood in the city's 244-year history, prompting Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to declare an indefinite state of emergency in Howard County, west of Baltimore.
Authorities have identified one of the flood victims as 35-year-old Jessica Watsula, a Pennsylvania resident who was visiting family in Ellicott City. Watsula was traveling with her mother-in-law and two sisters and was unable to escape when their vehicle got swept up in the floodwaters. She left behind a 10-year-old daughter.
Joseph Blevins, 38, from Windsor Mill, Maryland, was also killed when his car got caught in the rising waters. His girlfriend was in the vehicle with him and managed to make it out.
Locals shared video footage that showed the intensity of the flooding and efforts to rescue people trapped in their vehicles. One clip showed rescuers forming a human chain to reach a stranded car, and one man nearly getting swept away.
Another video shot from a drone showed the aftermath of the flood and the extent of the damage.
Beyond the human toll, the flooding destroyed many business and roadways in the area. Howard County officials have calculated that 170 damaged cars are now being towed to impound lots. Of the 200 buildings in the city's historic downtown, at least four are "destroyed" and between 20 and 30 are significantly damaged, according to CNN.
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