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Heavy rains in Baltimore region lead to widespread flooding

Heavy rains in Baltimore region lead to widespread flooding
Heavy rains flooded Baltimore-area roads on Saturday, stranding some motorists. (Tom Brenner / Baltimore Sun)

More than three inches of rain fell Saturday, making for the wettest June 27 on record in Baltimore and causing widespread flooding that closed roads, swamped cars and stranded motorists. Amid the heavy rain, one person died in a boating accident in Frederick County.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning just after 5 p.m. as the storm reached its peak. The weather service measured 3.11 inches of rain at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, and 2.83 inches at the Inner Harbor.

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It has already been the wettest June on record, with more than 13 inches of rain at BWI. That's well above the normal June precipitation of 3.46 inches.

One man died after a pontoon boat carrying nine people was swept over the side of a dam at Lake Linganore near New Market around 6:30 p.m., said Candy Thomson, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources Police, which is investigating the incident. He was identified as Stephen Wade Hembree, 62, of New Market.

The other eight people were rescued, including three by a Maryland State Police helicopter, said Capt. Kevin Fox of the Frederick County Division of Fire Rescue. They were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital.

Thomson said it appeared that the motor was not strong enough to keep the boat from the edge of the dam, or it may have malfunctioned. As of about 10:30 p.m., crews were still working to recover the body of the boat operator.

On Saturday, the mass of water gushing into the sewer system through cracks in the pipes, manholes and other points overwhelmed the capacity at the Patapsco Waste Water treatment plant in Southwest Baltimore, sending tens of thousands of gallons of sewage, "if not more," into the river, said Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for Baltimore's public works department.

"Unfortunately when it's this amount of rain, it will happen," he said, adding that the department has $100 million worth of repair projects underway to help fix the problem.

In Baltimore, dozens of roads closed as a result of the rainfall, as storm drains were overwhelmed, said Connor Scott, spokesman for the city's office of emergency management. Flooding shut the southern entrance to Interstate 83 for about an hour Saturday afternoon, he said.

The rains also forced the Orioles to cancel a game against the Cleveland Indians.

Baltimore County received at least half a dozen calls for water rescues, with a swiftwater rescue and boat team rescuing six people from four cars stalled on Route 40 at Rosedale Ave, said Fire Director Jennifer Aubert-Utz.

Harford County received four calls for stranded vehicles, said Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association.

Baltimore Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

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