Maryland weather: 'It's going to be a soggy one'

Maryland weather: 'It's going to be a soggy one'
Neighborhood resident Paul Algire unclogs a storm drain at Francis Scott Key School after a night of heavy rains flooded the school entrance at Fort Avenue and Decatur Street. Algire says he has had to unclog it several times while living in the neighborhood for 18 years. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Keep the galoshes handy, Baltimore.

Extensive rainfall is expected to continue, with the heaviest downpours beginning Thursday night into Friday morning.


“That’s when we’re expecting the bulk of the rainfall,” said Brandon Fling, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

While the severe weather has stopped, tropical moisture coming from the South has brought with it rain and humidity.

“It’s very humid out there,” said Fling, adding that dew points are in the mid 60s.

A flood watch is in effect Thursday afternoon through Friday night for most of Maryland, with an additional rainfall of 3 to 5 inches expected. “It’s going to be a soggy one,” Fling said.

Flash flooding is also possible. Fling advised residents to “have a way to get any flood warnings issued for your area,” to avoid flood-prone areas and not to drive in standing water. “As always, turn around don’t drown,” he said.

Workers set up the Preakness infield amid puddles after heavy rain in the area. The main sound stage is also being built as preparation for Saturday's 143rd running of the Preakness.
Workers set up the Preakness infield amid puddles after heavy rain in the area. The main sound stage is also being built as preparation for Saturday's 143rd running of the Preakness. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Earlier in the week, severe thunderstorms brought heavy rains to Central Maryland and caused intense flooding in Frederick County, where the National Weather Service estimated rain fell at 4.3 inches per hour and precipitation totaled more than 5 inches. The city of Frederick declared a state of emergency Wednesday. Floods stranded a MARC train and resulted in about 60 water rescues in the county, and across the state the storm downed trees and flooded roads.

By comparison, more than 6 inches of rain fell within two hours during the storm and flash flooding that killed two people in historic Ellicott City in late July 2016.

MARC train services on the Brunswick line were suspended Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday night that the worst of a severe thunderstorm had passed by Baltimore. But the rain will likely continue through the week, and the weather service issued a flood watch for Thursday afternoon through Friday evening in the Baltimore area and the wider region. A flood watch signals that flooding is possible around streams and low-lying areas.

On Tuesday night, flooding stranded a MARC commuter train with 85 passengers on board east of the Brunswick station, according to Vivian Laxton, spokeswoman for Frederick County. Police were called at about 10:30 p.m., she said, and units were still at the scene an hour later, attempting to reach the passengers across a 20-foot span of water as the rain continued to fall. Laxton said no one was in distress and there were no medical emergencies. All the passengers were on the upper level of the double-decker train car.

CSX Transportation, which owns the track, and MARC worked together to get the train back to the Brunswick station, Laxton said. The train returned to the station at about 12:15 a.m. and the passengers were able to leave.

Laxton said she suspects a culvert beneath the rails collapsed. Service on the Brunswick line was suspended Wednesday due to the damaged tracks.

In addition to the suspension of train service on the Brunswick line, Laxton said some sinkholes had developed on Frederick County roads by Wednesday afternoon. Maryland Route 180 is closed north of its intersection with Maryland Route 17 due to a sinkhole, Laxton said. Other roads were damaged as well.

“Crews are out now trying to clear the drains and assess the damage,” Laxton said.


The YMCA in downtown Frederick flooded for the second time in three years, Laxton said. A message on the YMCA’s website says the facility is closed and programs are canceled because the building is without power or working phone lines.

“We’re in a moist pattern right now through Saturday,” Lee said. “More or less we’re going to have showers and afternoon thunderstorms through Saturday.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency warned drivers not to cross flooded roadways.

Meteorologists urge residents to seek shelter if they hear thunder — that means storms are close enough for lightning to strike. Storms with severe winds could also send debris flying.

Stormy and rainy weather is forecast to continue through this week, including possibly during the 143rd Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

“I think that people just need to be aware of the weather situation through Saturday,” Lee said. “With the soggy conditions that we have it’s very conducive to flooding.”