Howard County Times
Howard County

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addresses response to Thursday storms in Ellicott City, greater county

Historic Ellicott City’s emergency alert system remained quiet throughout heavy rains Thursday evening.

The system is “meant to alert the public only when flash flooding is imminent,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement Friday morning.


The National Weather Service issued an areal flood warning — floods that develop gradually — on Thursday. In a Facebook post Thursday night, Ball wrote “At no point, was any part of Historic Ellicott City under a National Weather Service flash flood watch or warning.”

Earlier this evening, there was extreme weather that came through Howard County causing the water in the channels of...

Posted by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday, October 31, 2019

“Since our emergency alert tones are only for imminent flash flooding, and indications on the ground did not point toward a risk of flash flooding, the decision was made not to trigger the alarms,” Ball said.


Two catastrophic floods devastated the Historic District’s Main Street in 2016 and 2018.

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Main Street from Rogers Avenue to the county line was closed for a short period of time around 10:15 p.m. Thursday. As a result of water in the West End of Ellicott City overrunning its bank, the road was closed by county police and the Office of Emergency Management.

Storm debris removal in the county’s nine waterways will begin next week, part of Ball’s enhanced stream cleaning process.

This process, to occur when rainfall of 2 inches or more has accumulated in a 24-hour period or after an hour of sustained winds more than 30 mph, was triggered by Thursday’s weather.

As of 8:30 a.m. Friday, 631 county homes were still without power, according to Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Ball said. Elkridge Elementary School was closed Friday due to loss of power.

Due to flooding in the building, the Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City remained closed as of 11:30 a.m. Friday. Residents can call 410-313-2764 beginning at 5 a.m. on Nov. 4 for updates on the center’s reopening.

During Thursday’s storm, emergency managers, stormwater management experts and other public safety personnel “were closing monitoring the weather” in Ellicott City. First responders were on scene to “ensure safety and give us additional eyes on the situation,” Ball said.

“I want to thank everyone in Howard County who helped us last night to monitor the weather and keep our residents safe. As always, I am proud of all our first responders and grateful for their service to protect our community,” Ball said.