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The Maryland flood that was caused by a 1-in-1,000-year rain event

Friday, July 30th 2021, 4:35 am - On this day in weather history, Ellicott City, Maryland, flooded.

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features stories about people, communities, and events and how weather impacted them.

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On Saturday, July 30, 2016, 165 mm of rain fell on Ellicott City, Maryland in around three hours. That's almost double the city's monthly average.

According to the National Center for Environmental Information, statistically, that's a 1-in-1,000-year rain event.

Governor Hogan Tours Old Ellicott City (28313724664) "Governor Larry Hogan Tours Old Ellicott City by Anthony DePanise at Main Street, Ellicott City, Maryland." Courtesy of Maryland GovPics/Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

The record levels of rain caused flash flooding, primarily affecting Main Street. The floods swept away cars and damaged homes and other buildings. Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan, declared a state of emergency for the area.

Businesses on Main Street closed for over two months for flood restoration. The street was also closed to cars for roads and sidewalk repairs.


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Two people died in the flash floods, Jessica Watsula, 35, and Joseph A. Blevins, 38. Both of them were in cars that were swept away by the rushing waters.

Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman in Ellicott City shortly after the flood "Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman in Ellicott City shortly after the flood." Courtesy of Maryland GovPics/Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

Marshall Shepherd, a University of Georgia meteorologist, said that stormwater management systems are out of date in the area. He also mentioned that impervious urbanized surfaces, like asphalt and concrete, cause water to run off into streams, lakes, and rivers.

To learn more about the 2016 Maryland flood, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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