Flooding throughout the area with some businesses along the Jones Falls evacuated. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Downpours were creating dangerous flooding across the Baltimore region Friday evening and caused streams to rise several feet within minutes, meteorologists said.
Baltimore City, southern and eastern Baltimore County and southern Harford County were under a flash flood warning through 9:45 p.m.
Meteorologists said 1.81 inches of rain fell in Southwest Baltimore in 30 minutes, and said radar indicated even heavier rain was falling from Baltimore northeastward into Harford County.
The National Weather Service reported multiple stream rising rapidly, including Maidens Choice Run in Southwest Baltimore by 13 feet in 26 minutes. That same area suffered major floods in late May, and weather service meteorologists said the stream’s height peaked within 2 feet of what was observed in that storm.
The weather service also received a report of hail 1.25 inches across in Baltimore.
Flooding quickly made some roads impassable, including the Caton Avenue ramp to Interstate 95 in Southwest Baltimore, Frederick Road in Oella, U.S. Route 40 at the West Baltimore MARC Station, Security Boulevard near Kernan Drive in Woodlawn, Putty Hill Road in Parkville, Welford Road in Timonium and Ridge Road in Milford Mill. In Baltimore, high water was reported in Remington and Bolton Hill, where water was seen gushing from manholes. Some cars were reported to have been pushed along flooded streets in Park Heights, though no injuries were reported.
Multiple trees were reported downed in Linthicum, and at Glen Arm Road and Harford Road in Kingsville.
Other severe storms were moving through Frederick and Carroll counties, headed eastward and capable of producing 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-sized hail.
A funnel cloud was reported near Point Lookout in St. Mary’s County, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch across Central Maryland until 10 p.m., warning of risks of damaging winds, large hail and heavy downpours.
A flash flood watch is also in effect across the region through 11 p.m.
A rainy summer has already soaked the ground, so there’s a strong chance any downpours that bring more than 2 inches of rain per hour will lead to flash floods, meteorologists said. The saturated ground could also cause trees to fall more easily than they otherwise would, the weather service warned.
“We’ve been so saturated lately and this activity is just going to exacerbate that this evening,” said Kevin Witt, a weather service meteorologist.
Baltimore already has surpassed a record for July rainfall set in 1889, and the area is approaching a record for its wettest summer since observations began in 1870. There has been 15.43 inches of rain so far this month at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, less than three inches shy of a record from August 1955.
That month, Hurricane Connie brought more than 10 inches of rain in three days. The storm killed 14 people in a shipwreck on the Chesapeake.
Once storms pass by late Friday night, drier weather is forecast Saturday, with patchy fog in the morning. But the chance of rain returns Sunday night, prefacing what’s expected to be another wet week. There’s a chance of rain and storms from Monday through Thursday.