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Isaias poses new test for Ellicott City

Flood-weary city has had time to prepare
ellicott city
Ellicott City
Ellicott City
Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 03, 2020

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — We have seen devastating flooding in historic Ellicott City before, and David Robeson has had firsthand experience weathering through those storms and more as the owner of the Antique Depot.

“We’ve been through two floods, the pandemic, we had the derecho the first year I took over and we’ve got the hurricane coming so we got our eyes on it,” said Robeson. “We’re aware that it’s on the way so we’re taking precautions.”

Since the city experienced two deadly storms in three years’ time, signs have now gone up pointing to high land and automated gates now swing open between the historic buildings giving people caught in the floods routes to safety.

The police have strategically placed video messaging boards at both ends of Main Street to relay messages when and if it begins to flood.

This storm, unlike others in the past, signaled its approach days ago.

“Being able to have a little bit more notice,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “And recognizing not only what we’ve learned from especially the 2016 and 2018 floods and the preparation, already having the foundation such as partnerships with EcoWorks who have been continuously cleaning out the channels.”

12 tons of debris removed over the last 18 months, and back at David Robeson’s business...

“For the last flood, the water came up to about the center of this parking space,” said Robeson as he showed us how far the water rose in front of his place two years ago.

Workers have replaced the long drain in front of his building, and he’s taken steps to better secure it from flooding after learning its weaknesses during the last flood.

“The water came off of Main Street into the alley down the side of the building and once the debris blew out the windows, then the water just came in and filled up the basement,” said Robeson. “But for this, we’ve blocked in the basement windows now so we no longer have those windows so we’re feeling pretty good about anything that would come our way, hopefully.”

Howard County is opening three community centers on Tuesday for people to use if they lose power:

North Laurel Community Center
9411 Whiskey Bottom Rd, Laurel, MD 20723

Roger Carter Community Center
3000 Milltowne Dr, Ellicott City, MD 21043

Gary J. Arthur Community Center
2400 MD-97, Cooksville, MD 21723