COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County residents and utility crews were picking up the pieces Thursday, a day after storms swept through, toppling trees, flooding dozens of roads and knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses.

Tornado and flash flood warnings were issued Wednesday night for Howard and Baltimore counties as the worst of the storm bore down on the area. It’s estimated that over two inches of rain fell in a two-hour window, raising water levels in flood-prone areas like Ellicott City, and strong winds left behind a trail of damage.

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Speaking at a Thursday news conference, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said the storm’s impact was felt throughout the county with nearly 30 roads impacted by flooding or downed trees. He credited first responders and an outdoor alert system with keeping residents safe at the height of the storms.

“Though yesterday’s storm was nerve-wracking for many of us, the systems that we’ve put in place together worked as intended, especially here in Ellicott City,” Ball said. “Our outdoor alert tone, which was installed in 2019, warned people within two miles of Main Street of the impending danger.”

The alert system in historic Ellicott City was one of several safety measures the county has rolled out in recent years after the city saw two “1,000-year floods” in 2016 and 2018, which damaged dozens of businesses and killed three people.

Ball said officials were aware of at least one tree that fell onto someone’s home and another that crashed into an apartment building. While the storm left up to 3,000 homes and businesses without power Wednesday night, power had been restored to all but 300 of them by Thursday morning.

Across the county, one of the hardest hit areas was Columbia. A Halsey concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion was halted and attendees were moved to higher ground as the concert venue flooded. In the Greenleaf community nearby, downed trees and limbs were scattered across the area.

One woman’s home was damaged after the top of a large pine tree snapped and part of it came crashing through her ceiling. Fortunately, neighbors who spoke with WJZ said they were not hurt.

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Though the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area, it’s unclear whether a tornado touched down. County officials said residents reported a possible touchdown near Cradlerock Way and Overheart Way in Columbia.

The damage and debris had tree trimmers and utility crews fanning out across the county Thursday morning, as they worked to clear tree limbs and restore power.

In neighboring Baltimore County, a tree crashed into a Woodlawn home, caving in part of the roof and damaging two bedrooms along with a nearby power line. In Baltimore City, weather postponed the Orioles’ game against the Chicago Cubs.

Ball, the Howard County executive, compared Wednesday night’s sudden burst of rain to the kind seen during the 2018 flood. He praised the initiative officials have taken through the Ellicott City Safe & Sound plan to address flood concerns.

Over the next few days, he said, utility crews will be rolling out Ellicott City’s Enhanced Stream Cleaning program, which involves the inspection and debris removal at dozens of flood-prone areas across Howard County.

“We implemented these and other initiatives as part of our Ellicott City Safe & Sound plan because we knew that when another storm came, we needed to be better prepared,” Ball said.

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Reporting by Jessica Albert and Amy Kawata contributed to this report.

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