FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — Frederick County has joined the City of Frederick in declaring a State of Emergency after storms slammed the area, causing flooding and damage to roads.
The heavy rains have stopped, but residents around the region are far from retiring to a sense of normalcy.
Parts of Frederick County are continuing to feel the impacts of historic flash flooding that has caused unprecedented damage.
“The so-called 100-year flood or the so-called 500-year flood, they’re happening more often now which means that amount of time is not what we think it is anymore,” City of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said.
At a press conference Thursday, O’Connor praised the city’s infrastructure for helping limit the level of destruction.
“It safeguarded the lives and the property our residents and our downtown businesses,” he said.
Nearby Baker Park, however, is just now recovering from the rising waters.
“All the way out through that field, all the way around the bell tower, it just looked like this huge wide river,” resident Joe Zimmerly said.
In neighboring Jefferson, several roads are expected to remain closed for weeks.
Part of the bridge along Corun Road was swept away and underwater.
The bridge on Saint Marks Road was covered in debris from the creek.
Homeowner John Parater blamed part of the severe flooding on old infrastructures, like a tunnel that he says is so small that at the peak of the storm, it caused water to explode — not only changing the landscape of his backyard but also of the creek itself.
“I keep calling it ground zero,” he said.
Parater’s home was spared, but his yard — including his wife’s garden and tools from a shed — were destroyed.
“I have pieces of driveway and asphalt completely 100 yards away, 50 yards away, the grill, everything is just gone,” he said.
Insurance isn’t going to much help either, but for the time being Parater is choosing to stay focused on the positive.
“Everybody’s safe, the family is okay,” he said.
Parater is hopeful, as are many others, that the worst of it is now over.
With no injuries or deaths so far, Frederick County is waterlogged but lucky.
The National Weather Service predicts local natural waterways could swell to major flood stage by the weekend. Officials are warning residents to keep out of the unpredictable rising water.
“As you all know, this is an active and a dynamic event that’s still going to continue through the weekend. So we are hopeful that the community really heeds our warnings,” Frederick Police spokesperson Michele Bowman said.
Charles Nipe, the county’s director of the Department of Public Works, said it will take up to a month to repair the damage.
Frederick County Public Schools will open two hours late on Friday.
City officials said it’s too early for a dollar amount on damages, but it’s already predicted to be well into the millions.
Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner is asking residents to use caution when they encounter flooded roads and not take any risks. She’s urging residents to stay home, if possible.
Some tips for drivers to keep in mind during heavy rainstorms:
- “Turn Around-Don’t Drown” – it only takes a few inches of water to cause a vehicle to move;
- Plan for extra travel time as some roads may flood and be temporarily closed;
- Never attempt to remove a fallen tree from the roadway, especially if there are electrical wires tangled in the branches;
- Should an intersection loose power and traffic signals become non-operational, treat all approaches of the intersection as a two or four-way stop;
- Be aware of flood prone areas and avoid those routes;
- Please don’t litter. Trash clogs storm drain systems and impacts highway drainage;
- Remember State law requires the use of headlights when windshield wipers are being used; and
- “Know Before You Go” with 5-1-1 or log onto http://www.md511.org.