By Alex DeMetrick

LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Flooding was widespread throughout Maryland during Wednesday’s downpours.

Alex DeMetrick reports parts of Laurel are drying out and cleaning up.

It didn’t take long for scenic to turn serious. Laurel’s river walk went underwater along a stretch of the Patuxent when water was released from dams upstream during Wednesday’s pounding rains.

“And they have to act very quickly to maintain the structure of the dam,” said H. Edward Ricks, Laurel city councilman. “[The water] does rise quickly.”

It rose up over Route 1 near Laurel’s Main Street, climbing so fast there wasn’t time to move cars out of the way or for low lying businesses to prepare for flooding.

“Water was up to the window levels of cars. The whole back lot was flooded,” said Tony McIver, AAMCO employee.

“It’s a mess in there. All the offices, all the paperwork,” said Steve Sherman, AAMCO employee.

This part of Laurel is no stranger to flooding, thanks to the lay of the land.

“There’s a creek that runs through and then there’s the Patuxent River on the far side and all of them kind of interjoin,” said Jonathan White, U-Haul store manager.

That confluence happens behind a senior housing center.

“We evacuated about 174 people from that house about 2 o’clock this morning,” Ricks said.

It was a precaution that was reversed as Route 1 reopened. It also provided some dry footing for researchers from the USGS, monitoring stream flow as flood waters eased. Damage assessments will likely take longer.

“You know, thank God for insurance,” McIver said.

And weather that will bring the Patuxent back down where it belongs.

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