Heavy rain, flash flooding ensnare Baltimore motorists

Heavy rains from a morning storm caused flash flooding and standing water in the city and throughout the region, officials said.

At about noon Sunday, city and Baltimore County fire and rescue officials rescued motorists from three cars submerged in water at Northpoint Road and Quad Avenue.

Fire chief Kevin Cartwright said a call came at about 11:30 a.m. about people trapped in water near the Baltimore County line. Fire officials arrived to find three vehicles trapped in four to five feet of water underneath a bridge.

One of the motorists tried to drive his late model Buick Lesabre through the water when it stalled. He climbed on top of the car.

A member of the city's Special Rescue Operations Team entered the water and threw the man a personal flotation device. A Zodiac boat was then used to transport the man to dry land.

A second motorist tried to drive his small pickup truck through the water and also got stuck. He waded through the water to dry ground.

A third vehicle was also found under the bridge, but the driver exited on his own and couldn't be found by the time fire officials reached the scene. No one was injured in the incidents.

The Baltimore area is under a flash flood watch until 8 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

"There will be scattered thunderstorms and rain showers that could locally result in a large amount of rain," said Christopher Vaccaro, a spokesman with the National Weather Service.

Standing water could be seen on portions of I-83 late this morning, including at the intersection of I-83 and Cold Spring Lane.

Some businesses were evacuated near Clipper Mill and Meadow Mill as well as Smith Avenue and Union Avenue because of rising water along the Jones Falls, Cartwright said. People were also asked to move their vehicles because of the potential for flooding in the area.

State highway and weather officials said most of the flooding occurred on the Eastern Shore.

"They had big wave of thunderstorms go through," said Charlie Gischlar, spokesman for the State Highway Administration.

Gischlar said there were no major accidents because of the flooding, but cautioned people to have patience while driving. He said people should remember to use their headlights and call 511 for the latest traffic conditions.

"People should take it easy and drive slower than the speed limit," Gischlar said. "Just be careful. There are trees that could come down."