Jaw-dropping scenes from the Ellicott City flood

Jaw-dropping scenes from the Ellicott City flood

Jaw-dropping scenes from the Ellicott City flood

Local officials of the American city of Ellicott say they are heartbroken after flash floods caused major damage and sent cars floating down main streets less than two years after another devastating flood the killed two people.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency for Ellicott City, where heavy rain flooded parts the city washing away cars and leaving behind extensive damage.

"This is an extremely risky and potentially catastrophic situation", the NWS said, adding that at least five roads in Baltimore have been shut down due to flooding. "We've had areas that were not even damaged at all two years ago terribly damaged this time".

Strong thunderstorms have formed and reformed in the zone between Ellicott City and Baltimore, unloading extreme rainfall in a process known as training.

In some places the water level has risen above the first story of buildings.

News outlets showed photos and video of turbulent water rushing down Main Street in Ellicott City, some 13 miles (20 kilometres) west of Baltimore. On Sunday the city saw 8 inches over six hours, with most of the rain falling during a three hour window. No fatalities or missing people were reported.

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Howard County Fire and EMS compared the situation to a flash flood in 2016 that left two people dead and forced Ellicott City to rebuild. The Howard County government says anyone who wants to volunteer can register at its website - but that for now, the downtown area remains off-limits.

Multiple area fire and rescue crews, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, worked to help people stranded in their homes in the area.

Some are already asking questions about whether enough was done after the last flood to prevent a similar catastrophe.

According to officials, no one has been reported missing in Baltimore County and no serious injuries have been reported.

Lori Conforti, a boardmember of the Community Action Council of Howard County, said in a tweet that the items most needed are water, cleaning supplies and flashlights.

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