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Two die after historic Maryland town is ravaged by floodwaters

Historic, low-lying Ellicott City was ravaged by floodwaters Saturday night, killing two people and causing devastating damage to businesses, officials in Maryland said.

County Executive Allan Kittleman said Sunday afternoon that the body of a man has been recovered. A woman’s body was found earlier Sunday. Kittleman said everyone else who was thought to be missing has been accounted for.

The damage sustained during the flooding Saturday night was the worst in at least 50 years and possibly the worst in the 244-year-old town’s history, he said.

Virtually every structure and business along Ellicott City’s Main Street was damaged. He estimated the cost of the recovery will run into the tens of hundreds of millions of dollars.

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The town was hit by roughly 6 inches of rain Saturday night.

Gov. Larry Hogan was touring the damage Sunday and declared a state of emergency, which will allow greater aid coordination and assistance.

Videos posted on social media showed floodwaters rushing down the town’s Main Street, which slopes toward the river, and sweeping away cars. Some vehicles came to rest on top of one another.

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“In almost every case catastrophic, just gutted,” said Andy Barth, a spokesman for Kittleman. “Everything in it has been swept out. All of the glass is broken, many of the sidewalks are out. It’s hard to believe.”

Barth said bystanders helped rescue some motorists who were at risk of being swept away while inside their cars, forming a human chain in at least one instance.

Ellicott City was established in 1772 along the Patapsco, and many 18th- and 19th-century buildings were still intact before Saturday’s floods. Once home to mill workers, in recent decades it has become known for restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and nightlife. Main Street slopes dramatically toward the river and has long been susceptible to flooding.

The county courthouse and government headquarters are located in Ellicott City but are on higher ground.

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UPDATES:

1:15 p.m.:  This article has been updated with a new death toll and more information about the damage.

This article was originally published at 10 a.m.


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