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Flooding concerns for Ellicott City as Ida makes its way to Maryland

Posted at 9:39 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 11:25:58-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Businesses on Main Street in Ellicott City are bracing for heavy rain as Ida makes its way to Maryland.

With up to four inches of rain in the forecast, business owners aren’t taking any chances.

“We’re definitely not going to have anybody here. That's the most important part," said Arkady Lapidus, who is the owner of Ellicott Distilling Company. "There’s no employees. No owners. We’ll make sure. Life is more important than barrels of bourbon."

The remnants from Ida is causing concern for potential flooding in an area that's already been hit with two deadly floods twice in the past five years.

"We were there the week before eating lunch and walking through the weekend and to watch the devastation the next week it was incredible," said Caryn Diehl, who is referencing the flood in 2018.

Business owners spent the day moving items in their store to higher ground and using sandbags to prevent water from getting in.

Lapidus said he'll be using sandbags as well. After that, it's out of his hands.

“It’s mother nature," Lapidus said. "It’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t turn a building into a submarine.”

As a precaution, Howard County announced parking restrictions on Main Street that will be in place starting Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. through the same time Thursday.

Crews also worked to remove debris from waterways to reduce the risk of flooding.

The county is hoping a $140 million dollar flood mitigation plan called the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan will prevent floods like in 2016 and 2018 from happening again.

“We just broke ground a couple of weeks ago on our H-7 pond and we’re going to continue working on those flood mitigation efforts," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. "From making sure there's early alert tones to seek high grounds to ensuring we have the extended north tunnel which is one of single most impactful ways to convey water safely and efficiently off of Main Street.

“If we can get through this next one without anybody getting hurt, I think it’s a win," Lapidus said.