29/05/2018 06:06 SAST

Raging Floodwaters Roar Through The Streets Of U.S. Town – Again

For the second time in two years, devastating flash floods plowed through the streets of a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, in the U.S. on Sunday.

For the second time in two years, devastating flash floods plowed through the streets of a suburb of Blatimore in the U.S. on Sunday.

Governor Larry Hogan (Republican) declared a state of emergency in Howard County as a major front drenched the Baltimore region, dumping some 20cm of rain on the town in just eight hours. And more rain is forecast.

Ellicott City, Maryland, located about 20km west of Baltimore, resides in the valley of the Patapsco River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The river rose 5.5m in two hours on Sunday.

The fast-flowing waters toppled buildings and trees and swept away cars in the historic centre of the mill town. In some areas, the floodwaters reached to the second storey of buildings, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services reported.

Hundreds of emergency workers scrambled to stabilise power lines, shut down roads and highways and evacuate people trapped in their homes, cars and commercial buildings. Rescue workers from as far away as northern Virginia were called in to help.

In one instance, a wedding party was forced to flee the Main Street Ballroom when the waters burst through the doors.

"It looked like we were in 'Titanic' or 'The Poseidon Adventure'," the bride's father told The Baltimore Sun.

By Sunday evening, no deaths or injuries had been reported. However, two people died in similar flooding in July 2016.

Some buildings had just finished final renovations from the 2016 flood when they were again gutted by floodwaters. A downtown clock that had survived the last flood and became a symbol of the town's resilience was toppled on Sunday.

Hogan warned residents to take precautions and protect themselves.

"The immediate focus is ensuring everyone is safe and secure," Hogan said in a statement. "I strongly urge all Marylanders to monitor the weather, heed all warnings and avoid the affected areas."

Hogan toured the flooded area on Sunday.

"The place looked terrific" after renovations from the last flood, he told CNN. "It's just devastating, because people have their lives tied up in this and went through a heck of a lot and came back — and now they're starting all over again."

"I can tell you my heart is broken thinking about what the people have gone through here, and the people's lives who were devastated two years ago and rebuilt. Now, they're faced with the same daunting task again," Howard County executive Allan Kittleman said at a press conference.