BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The State of Emergency in Howard County following deadly flooding in Ellicott City has been extended through Sept. 7.
The county council convened an emergency legislative session to pass the measure because County Executive Allan H. Kittleman’s initial order would have expired Saturday.
According to Emergency Management personnel, the State of Emergency allows the County Executive to focus on stabilizing hazards by closing off streets and sidewalks to all traffic.
“Crews can now bring in necessary equipment to perform such tasks as removing vehicles, inspecting buildings, and repairing essential public infrastructure such as water, sewer, and gas lines, as well as electricity, roadways, and sidewalks,” according to a news release. “In addition, the Howard County Police Department is being supplemented with 40 Maryland State Troopers to ensure a strong perimeter.”
The county council is in its August recess, but will continue to meet given the dire circumstances in Ellicott City.
“The Council is here to do anything we can to work with the community and assist the victims of Saturday’s tragic event in Historic Ellicott City,” Council Chairperson Calvin Ball said. “My hope is that this extension will ultimately provide residents and business owners with future opportunities to bounce back quicker and more resilient.”
“My heart goes out to all of my friends and constituents in Ellicott City,” Council Vice Chairperson Jon Weinstein added. “We have a long process ahead of us and I will be with you every step of the way. It’s not a question of ‘if’ we are going to rebuild, but ‘how’ we are going to rebuild our city even stronger.”
Residents and business owners, meanwhile, have just tried to salvage what they can from the remains of their homes and businesses.
“I filmed the water rushing into our basement and destroying our frame shop,” said David Dempster, owner of Still Life Gallery on Main Street, who filmed the remarkable video of a human chain banding together to rescue a driver amid the chaos.
Another business owner, Kelli Myers, also saw the floodwaters rush through as she tried in vain to save some of her belongings.
“We’d just gotten a couple handfuls of stuff,” Myers recalled. “We had to leave everything that we had pulled out and just go.”
Despite their losses, most people that spoke with WJZ were just glad they didn’t lose more to the flash floods.