ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today discussed the impact of Wednesday evening’s storm on Ellicott City and other regions in Howard County. Areas around Howard County experienced up to 2.5 inches of rainfall over a two-hour period, triggering multiple Flash Flood Warnings. The National Weather Service also issued a Tornado Warning for eastern Howard County. Approximately 3,000 BGE customers lost power Wednesday evening. Photos of the event can be found here.
The impact of Wednesday night’s storm was felt across our community. Nearly 30 roads across the county were effected by flooding or downed trees. In Ellicott City, a flash flood warning triggered our outdoor tone alert system to notify residents to seek high ground. This and other initiatives we’ve implemented through Ellicott City Safe and Sound made us more prepared.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Flash Flood Watch for Howard County at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday through 4:00 a.m. Thursday, June 9th. Beginning around 6:00 p.m. Howard County experienced a series of short duration, high intensity storms.
NWS issued a Tornado Warning for eastern Howard County at 8:45 p.m. Residents reported a possible tornado touchdown near Cradlerock Way and Overheart Way in Columbia.
At approximately 8:40pm, heavy rains caused flooding in the pavilion and along the perimeter at Merriweather Post Pavilion during a concert. The concert was stopped and individuals in the lower pavilion were evacuated to higher ground.
In Centennial Park there was 2.5 inches of rainfall over two hours. In Ellicott City there was 2.3 inches of rainfall over two hours, including 1.25 inches of rain in 15 minutes between 8:45 and 9:00 p.m.
The NWS issued a flash flood warning at 9 p.m. for Historic Ellicott City, which triggered the outdoor emergency alert tones to sound and the Howard County Police Department to clear and close Main Street. Private Access Point Gates, which were installed in 2020, were opened for people to seek higher ground.
Based on cameras positioned in Ellicott City, water on Main Street was at about 6 inches, or curb height, at the lower end of the street at the height of the storm.
The Outdoor Tone Alert system, which was installed in 2019, has been triggered twice before, June and August 2020, when Flash Flood Warnings were issued for Ellicott City.
Wednesday’s storm also triggered Ellicott City’s Enhanced Stream Cleaning program. Within 72 hours, crews will inspect and remove debris from 56 points in waterways in Howard County that are known to experience or contribute to flooding. Since the program began in December 2018, more than 31 tons of debris have been removed from waterways. Under protocols established by County Executive Ball, debris will be removed after any rain event of 2 inches or greater accumulation in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds over 30mph. Previously, waterways were only inspected on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
Howard County has broken ground on two flood mitigation projects a part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, the H7 and Quaker Mill ponds, which are expected to be completed next year. Just two weeks ago, County Executive Ball announced that the county secured a $75 million loan through the Environmental Protection Agency’s WIFIA program. This critical investment will largely support the Extended North Tunnel project that, once complete, will carry more than 26,000 gallons of water away from the homes and businesses in Ellicott City and into the Patapsco River.