Home > Flooding, Weather > Flash Flooding – Ellicott City, Maryland

Flash Flooding – Ellicott City, Maryland

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Upper Main Street looking eastward 9/7/2011


I was away for the holiday weekend and was prepared to write about that experience, especially in view of the fact I deliberately enjoyed it unplugged. I relished the fact I was completely disconnected from the world for a few days.  I was refreshed and looking forward to the tons of e-mails, messages, blog reading, and commenting that awaited me when I returned.  That is, until the weather happened…

I returned home and to work on Tuesday as the remnants of Hurricane Lee, now a Tropical Depression, pummeled our area relentlessly with enormous amounts of rain.  Yesterday from 11 am to near 1 pm, we were hit with a concentrated pocket of more than 5 inches of rain.  The sheer volume of water overwhelmed the saturated ground and storm drain system, turning streets into raging rivers of rainwater.

There was little warning and many cars wound up trapped as they waited, mistakenly in this case, for the bands of rain to subside and the drains to do what they were supposed to do — siphon the storm water off the surfaces of the roadways.  That didn’t happen.  In fact it seemed as though the storm was stalled directly overhead as the rain poured down in torrents all while the flood waters were rapidly rising.  Some motorists took the chance to rush through and made it; others were forced to abandon their cars in the street, to be fetched or towed hours later.

Lower Main Street looking westward


My Company owns and manages a number of buildings in the Historic downtown area, so most of my day was spent with any and all our staff surveying the flooding, dealing with power outages, and a lot of bailing and water removal.  The work is not yet done as we’ve gotten more rain overnight and sitting here this morning as I write this, it is still raining.

Well, back to managing the flood waters.  I hope everyone remains dry and safe.  Someone, please send some sunshine our way!


  1. September 8, 2011 at 8:56 am

    OMG, Phil, that’s horrible. Please stay safe and dry.

    • September 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Carol. I’m fine here. We live much further to the west and much higher. These were pictures of the Downtown area near the confluence of the Patapsco and Tiber Rivers. What a mess!

  2. September 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    “Like” is not the button that seems appropriate to push in relation to your travails. I am “Happy” to know that you are safe and “Horrified” to see the flooding in your lovely historic Ellicott City.

    Please take care of yourself and know that there are people in drier places sending you arid thoughts. That is not to say I’m an air-head, but I think you know what I mean…

    • September 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks Lorna. I’m fine, just tired. I’m trying to catch up on some reading tonight, and despite being tired, I’m smiling, entertained, and laughing again. Just what I needed after a long day with little sleep. I appreciate the concern.

  3. September 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Oh, Phil, that is unbelievable.

    I hope you are alright. The phots make me quite sad.

    Thinking of you. x

    • September 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      Kim, thanks so much for swinging by. I’m fine, just tired. Like I told Lorna, catching up on reading other blogs, including yours, made me laugh and smile – just what I needed.

  4. September 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Wow, Phil. That was only two days ago. Hope you’re managing okay. I’m sure you’re a resourceful guy but my goodness, what a mess.

    Sending my best to all of you…

    • September 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Totsy. We’re all pretty tired from working through in shifts to deal with the clean-up from the mess that was left behind all the rain. I got home last night too exhausted to play online. I’m going to do one more blog entry about a retaining wall that collapsed and somehow try not to be such a downer – I promise to find some humor in this all.

      I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

      • September 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

        Unfortunately, we have those down moments in life. I’m sure but from what I can tell about you, this too shall pass and you
        know how to direct your thinking about it in a positive way. The good thing for you is that the family’s safe and you guys get to dig in there together to make it through.

        Yes, all’s well here. Thanks for asking, considering what you’re dealing with.

        • September 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

          No worries Totsy. I was born happy, and I’ll die that way. It’s not in my nature to be sad; pensive maybe but never truly sad. My purpose of doing this was more to chronicle what’s been going on – not really complaining or sad, just providing a quick peek at significant happenings around our otherwise sleepy little suburban enclave.

  5. jennygoth
    September 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

    that looks a scarey flood we in the north of uk are going to experience a tail end of a hurricane this monday so bad weather here too glad your safe xxjen

    • September 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Thanks for the sentiments jennygoth. We’re safe here now. I’m sorry to hear you’re in the path of a hurricane. I see Hurricane Katia made a northeastward turn in your direction. I hope you will all be safe and dry as well.

      Thank you for stopping by. I promise not to be blogging about depressing stuff much longer – just feeling the need to chronicle what is happening.

  6. September 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Phil…wow I’ve been hiding under a rock here lately.

    How unreservedly awful. I anticipated this MIGHT happen to you guys. Having been through two floods over here that should NEVER have happened, I know how quickly things can be one major liquid headache, heartache and backache. I thought it might have happened to you guys. I was just hoping it would not.

    I’m sorry I didn’t check on your sooner.

    Best wishes during the drying out/restoration process.

    And I know the feeling about needing to chronicle stuff. You do what you need to do…don’t worry about depressing anyone. Life happens…it’s not always fun.

    Hearing about flood damage is not depressing. Worrisome, to be sure, but not depressing.

    I have a friend whose leukemia just came back after his first round of chemo and a bone marrow and stem cell transplant. We found out this week. He’ll be back in the hospital for more aggressive chemo treatment for about 5-6 weeks.

    My dear friend and mentor just recently underwent a major emergency cervical spine surgery to correct a nerve problem that was causing him paralysis.

    Perspective, my dear, perspective. I think your readers can handle a little bit of your water woes. As long as you have your health…the material losses are not so unbearable.

    Be safe.



    • September 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm


      Thanks for the sentiments. Really, all is fine here. A bit tired and musty perhaps, but fine. I vowed to write something light and funny, but with tomorrow being 9/11, I’m afraid I’ll have to be sentient and serious one more day…

      And no, you’ve not been under a rock. People have this strange phenomenon that seems to occur called real life.

      Once again, thanks for stopping by – it brightened my day.


  7. jennygoth
    September 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    hi hope you are well have a great weekend xxjen

    • September 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      We’re fine here – in fact it’s beautiful cool autumn-like weather right now. Did the rains you mentioned ever sweep through where you live? Is everything fine your way?

  1. September 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

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