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Heavy Rain And Flood Warnings Across Md.; O’Malley Declares State Of Emergency

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A day-long deluge of rain causes flooding across Maryland. The Jones Falls was moving rapidly and even spilled over the banks in the Clipper Mill area of North Baltimore. That neighborhood was evacuated as the swift-moving water threatened to wash over a bridge.

It was also an absolute mess around City Dock in Annapolis. The water poured onto the roads there, and many businesses threw down sandbags hoping to keep the water out.

Kelly McPherson reports on the conditions in Baltimore.

The Jones Falls was raging all day long. Water is spreading across Baltimore.

“We’re all over the city watching low-lying areas,” said Chief Roman Clark, Baltimore City Fire Department.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has declared a state of emergency. The city evacuated the Mount Washington businesses near the Jones Falls—a spot prone to flooding.

“I wouldn’t want to have a business.  I wouldn’t want to own one of those stores in there,” said Sarah Pitts, Mount Washington.

Runoff spread onto I-83 North, shutting down a lane of traffic for hours. It was spreading from the bottom floor of the Penn Station parking lot.

The city towed dozens of cars before the owners arrived at the station. The water and raw sewage mixture damaged several cars and filled the air with quite an odor.

City crews are working to clear out debris that washed into flood zones, including the heart of the Inner Harbor.

“You’re going to see rivers and creeks begin to rise up over the banks,” said Quentin Banks, Maryland Emergency Management Agency.  “The local jurisdictions and the state of Maryland will keep a sharp eye out for that because it has a potential for causing flooding.”

The danger will continue after the rain.

 “This is a situation that we have to keep our eye on closely,” Clark said. “Sounds like it’s going to be a busy night.”

Serious floods reached far beyond Baltimore.

Kai Jackson continues our First Warning Weather coverage with a look at other counties across the state.            

Maryland was deluged with rain Thursday night. Sky Eye Chopper 13  was over some of the worst of it on Race Road in Essex.

Annapolis was also pummeled by the heavy rains. Precipitation that fell so fast and in such large amounts that it pushed the harbor water over the dock, flooding the streets.

“I think it’s a disaster. I live two doors down and I can’t get into my house,” said one resident.

There were similar problems in Harford County. Flooding forced authorities to close roads, and drivers had to find alternative routes to their destinations.

Bay Drive in Middle River is saturated from the storm and the nearby Chesapeake Bay. The motto “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is applicable there because the road is too difficult to tell how deep the water is.

The Miami Beach area in Baltimore County, which is prone to flooding, had standing water on several roads.

The Gwynns Falls in Woodlawn was pushing water over its banks at points.

“I think it’s horrible, and if you don’t have to go out, stay home,” said Yvonne Burgess, Rosedale.

Baltimore City Fire Department is asking residents not to call 911 for reports of flooded basements, as it is not a routine practice for the fire department to pump flooding from basements. Unless the situation is dangerous and there is a need to an emergency response or rescue, city residents are asked not to call 911 for basements floods.  Call 311 instead.

Residents can take these steps to stay safe and reduce flooding in their area:

  •  Clean trash from storm drain inlets. Keeping drains clear of trash and debris is crucial in preventing localized flooding.
  • Avoid parking on top of storm drains. Vehicle tires can prohibit runoff.
  • Report blocked storm drains that cannot be cleared to 311 so that DPW crews can address them.
  • Stay Informed. Monitor the storm on local TV and radio stations, and listen for updates from city officials. Citizens who live along streams or in places that are subject to flooding are especially urged to stay alert and to be prepared to move their vehicles or evacuate.
  • Don’t drive on flooded roads.
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