As much as 6 inches of rain could bring floods

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Scott Dance sdance@balt­ twit­

As much as 6 inches of rain, and more in iso­lated ar­eas, could cause wide­spread flood­ing across Cen­tral Mary­land through Fri­day — in­clud­ing in El­li­cott City, still re­cov­er­ing from the July down­pour that trig­gered a deadly flash flood.

A slow-mov­ing low-pres­sure sys­tem com­ing from the Great Lakes is fore­cast to pull in trop­i­cal mois­ture as it spreads over the re­gion, likely soak­ing Mary­land. Thun­der­storms and pock­ets of in­tense rain­fall could in­un­date some ar­eas, Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Chris Strong said, but it’s im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict where.

“It’s like pre­dict­ing where bub­bles are go­ing to be in your boil­ing pot of wa­ter,” he said. “There’s po­ten­tial for spotty ar­eas to see ex­cep­tional rain and ex­treme flash flood­ing.”

Those pre­dic­tions had Bal­ti­more of­fi­cials urg­ing res­i­dents to clear storm drains, and me­te­o­rol­o­gists re­mind­ing them of the dan­gers of fast-ris­ing, swift-mov­ing waters.

Six inches of rain­fall in a two-hour span July 30 sent a river down Main Street in El­li­cott City that drowned two peo­ple and swept away dozens of ve­hi­cles. Of­fi­cials were pre­par­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other flood.

Howard County of­fi­cials have been in “con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with the weather ser­vice and re­lay­ing me­te­o­rol­o­gists’ warn­ings to busi­ness own­ers and res­i­dents in El­li­cott City, spokesman Mark Miller said. Crews put up sand­bags along a stream bank that has not been re­stored since the flood, he said, and build­ing in­spec­tors have been check­ing on some of the prop­er­ties still re­pair­ing flood­ing dam­age.

Miller said of­fi­cials aren’t ex­pect­ing any flood­ing as se­vere as El­li­cott City saw in July, be­cause the rain is ex­pected to fall over a longer pe­riod of time.

“We are just mak­ing sure we’re tak­ing ev­ery pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure we can,” he said.

The heav­i­est rain was fore­cast to be­gin fall­ing Wednes­day night and con­tinue through to­day, Strong said. The sys­tem has the po­ten­tial to drop as much as a foot of rain in iso­lated ar­eas, he said.

Show­ers could then linger through Fri­day and into early Satur­day, he said.

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