Flash Floods

A man watches as Washington Boulevard floods on the border of Elkridge and Halethorpe on Wednesday. (Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / September 5, 2011)

UPDATED: New list of road closures at bottom of this post.

A third day of heavy rains brought flash flooding, rescue efforts and dozens of road closures in Baltimore County on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The list of road closures grew substantially Wednesday night as conditions got worse in many areas of the county. (The complete list is below.)

With a band of storms that could bring as many as 2 inches of rain per hour, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Baltimore County.


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At one point, the flood warning for the western part of the county was supposed to be in effect until 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; the warning was to be in effect until 5 in the eastern portion. However, those warning were extended into Wednesday night.

Up to 6 inches of rainfall was expected, with flooding affecting a number of areas.

The bridge between Ellicott City and Oella -- the border between Baltimore and Howard counties -- on Frederick Road was closed because of flooding.

Four volunteer firefighters from the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department's Swiftwater Rescue Unit and two Baltimore County career firefighters from the swiftwater unit at the Texas station had to be rescued from the Patapsco River in that area Wednesday afternoon, according to Baltimore County police.

One of the firefighters from the Texas station was stranded in a tree surrounded by rushing water before rescue swimmers brought him to shore, according to Julia Hargrove, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County police.

“The water was just too swift,” said Doug Simpkins, captain of the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department. “It just overtook the boat.”

Simpkins added his team made no errors during the rescue attempt, and the rescue boat was seriously damaged.

Before he could provide any more details about the incident, his department received another call just before 10 a.m. this morning.

The units were responding to the report of a truck stranded in the water at Frederick and River roads, said Lynn Mullahey, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Fire Department.

The truck was never found, she said.

Mullahey said another member from the Texas station was taken to a nearby hospital and later released.

The road is now open, but there is mud on the roadway and equipment is being brought in to clear the road, Mullahey said late Wednesday afternoon from westernCatonsville.

The Arbutus unit had been busy for most of the day. In fact, just before 3 p.m. Wednesday, one of the two emergency vehicle bays at the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department was completely empty.

The sight, according to one veteran volunteer at the station on Southwestern Boulevard, was extremely unusual.

Missing from their usual spaces among the department's eight pieces of equipment were two ambulances, a utility vehicle, a swiftwater rescue vehicle and an engine.

The equipment had been dispatched to various parts of western Baltimore County in response to calls for help because of flooding after heavy rains again pounded the region.