Heavy rains cause flash flooding, power outages in Baltimore region

A storm dumped more than 5 inches of rain Friday and Saturday on parts of central Maryland, causing flash flooding in some areas, knocking out power, closing parks and uprooting trees.

According to the National Weather Service’s preliminary rainfall totals, the storm dumped more rain on parts of Maryland than they typically get in a month. More than 7 inches of rain was reported in Severn in Anne Arundel County; more than 5 inches in Columbia and Elkridge in Howard County; and more than 4 inches on parts of Baltimore City and Arbutus in Baltimore County.

Ellicott City, which a year ago was rocked by a deadly flood after more than 6 inches of rain fell in a span of two hours, received more than 2 inches of rain this weekend. Howard County leaders and residents are marking this weekend the first anniversary of that sudden flood, which cost the historic Main Street area tens of millions of dollars in damage and lost business.

This weekend's rain was much less intense but nevertheless caused some flash flooding and power outages.

Flash flooding was documented in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood and in several parts of eastern Baltimore County.

David McMillan, Baltimore’s acting director of emergency management, said city officials responded to 13 incidents of cars stuck in water, including one at Patapsco Avenue and Hollins Ferry Road involving 10 cars and 11 people. No one was injured.

But he said there was no major flooding in areas by the Jones Falls stream. “Damage and flooding overall so far seems to be fairly limited,” he said.

Linda Foy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said about 7,000 customers lost power because of the storm, mostly caused by trees falling on power lines, but that the impact was fairly minor.

"A very small fraction of our customers were actually impacted by the storm, from an electric service perspective," she said.

As of Saturday evening, there were still more than 500 BGE customers without power, including nearly 200 in eastern Baltimore County.

Baltimore County fire units responded to Wilson Point Road and Eastern Boulevard in Middle River about 1 a.m. Saturday for reports of “multiple vehicles in knee-deep flood water,” officials said. No injuries were reported. Police closed several parts of Eastern Avenue nearby until the flooding subsided.

In Patapsco Valley State Park, the heavy rains caused damage to some of the trails. The popular Grist Mill Trail, which runs through southwest Baltimore County, remained closed Saturday while state officials fixed the trail. The Avalon area of the park was also closed because of storm damage.

The weather service also reported that the rain was causing some trees to topple.

“Saturated ground from recent heavy rain is causing shallow-rooted and weakened trees to uproot even in the absence of significant wind,” the agency said in an alert to Maryland residents. “Individuals driving or walking in wooded areas, especially those adjacent to creeks, rivers, streams and lakes, should exercise extreme caution.”

Even as flash-flood warnings expired for the Baltimore region, they remained in effect for Prince George’s and Garrett counties into Sunday.

Headed into the weekend, more than 3 inches of rain had already fallen on Baltimore in July. The additional heavy rain is likely to make July the wettest month of the year so far.

Warming and drying trends are forecast by the middle of next week.

Baltimore Sun reporters Ian Duncan and Scott Dance contributed to this article.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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