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Ellicott City business owners nervous about impending severe weather

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 22:44:50-04

Business owners in Ellicott City say they’re nervous about heavy rain headed their way. It’s been a year since that historic flood washed away, and damaged stores.

The flooding also killed two people.

A day filled with events commemorating the flood is scheduled for Saturday, but business owners say they’re still concerned about the weather.

Sally Fox Tennant is as anxious as she is excited.

She owns Discoveries – a jewelry store in the heart of historic Ellicott City.

“Every time it rains heavily, I think almost all of us have a knee-jerk reaction about being afraid of what could potentially be our tomorrow,” she said.

A potential that was her yesterday – or in this case yesteryear.

The thought alone of the flood damage to the place she not only called her work for the 36 years, but here home is an emotional one.

RELATED: Severe weather causes major flooding in Baltimore, Ellicott City

“I had my entire basement, which was loaded with inventory, totally underwater. Here mostly five and a half feet to eight and this whole place was topsy turvy,” Fox Tennant said.

In a year’s time, Sally, with the help of volunteers, has a majority of her store back running.

Still, on wet days like the one on Friday, she says she relives the trauma.

“Today, I kind of feel like I’m reliving that more than I normally would. I normally don’t dwell on it too much, but this is a pretty serious threat to us today. Having that on top of the anniversary is a sense of dread,” Fox Tennant said.

A paralyzing feeling only pressured by the search for a resolution.

“There’s only so much you can do. You can’t elevate these buildings. I think most of us here in the community are more relying upon the government to make good decisions,” the long-time Ellicott City resident said.

County Executive Allan Kittleman says he has a plan.

An $18 million flood mitigation plan that’s supposed to improve storm drains and create new storm water retention facilities in the watershed.

“Although these projects will alleviate a significant amount of flooding, storms like we had last year folks – water will still reach buildings. We can’t completely mitigate six inches of rain in two hours, but we can do an awful lot to make things a lot better for folks here in Ellicott City,” Kittleman said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Work that will take at least a couple of years to complete.

Until then, Sally says she’s crossing her fingers.

“…moving forward and leaving this chapter behind, and then you’re smacked in the face with the reality that we’re still sitting ducks,” she said.

The Howard County Emergency Management Agency is monitoring weather headed to the Ellicott City area.

Officials are coordinating with different departments for any possibilities.

All of the events sponsored by the Ellicott City Partnership to commemorate last year’s flood are continuing.