ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — As heavy rains moved into Ellicott City on Monday evening, sirens blared in the low-lying historic district for the first time since they were installed.

Following two devastating floods in historic Ellicott City in recent years, an alert system was installed to warn residents and businesses in the area of imminent flooding.

Those sirens sounded on Monday as officials urged people to seek higher ground.

“I heard a sound going off like ‘woo woo’ and I knew exactly what it was as soon as it sounded,” Danny Manley, of Ellicott City, said.

In a news release, Howard County officials said the sirens went off once the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area.

The county’s emergency management office sounded them again to make sure people in the area could hear them over the storm.

“We aspire to not only be an example of resilience around the world, but in preparation for creating the most safe community that we can,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.

Videos posted on social media showed fast-moving water rushing through waterways in the area as the storms rolled through.

While parts of the region saw around three inches of rain, no significant flooding was reported in Ellicott City. Some low-lying roads in other parts of the county remained closed Tuesday afternoon due to high water.

The county reported rain gauges in Ellicott City picked up 1.85 inches of rain on Monday evening.

As the storms moved through, numerous trees toppled and power was knocked out to thousands.

By Tuesday morning, county crews were out cleaning debris and clearing areas that could back up and cause flooding.

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“Yesterday evening was nerve-wracking, but we are glad that everyone is safe,” Lori Lilly, the Executive Director of Howard EcoWorks, said in the release. “Our team was out beginning inspections within 2 hours of notice of the triggering event. We are proud to do our small part in support of Ellicott City and Howard County Government.”

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Rachel Menitoff

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