BALTIMORE, MD — Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties are under a flash flood warning until 2:45 a.m. Saturday as round after round of storms dump heavy rains across the region. At 11:48 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service says Doppler radar indicated another round of heavy rain across the area. Up to one inch of rain has already fallen since 11 p.m.
A separate flood warning for urban areas and small streams has also been issued for the city of Baltimore and southeastern Baltimore County until 4:15 a.m. Saturday. The Weather Service says that at 10 p.m. Friday, local law enforcement reported ongoing flooding in Dundalk. Up to three inches of rain have already fallen in this area. An additional one to two inches is expected through the early morning hours.
Some locations that may experience flash flooding include Baltimore, Columbia, Severn, Elkridge, Riviera Beach, Baltimore-Washington Airport, Fort Smallwood State Park, Bodkin Point, Millers Island, North Point State Park, Sparrows Point, Back River, Glen Burnie, Ellicott City, Dundalk, Catonsville, Essex, Woodlawn, Pasadena and Arbutus.
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Some locations that may experience urban flooding include Baltimore, Pikesville, North Point State Park, Sparrows Point, Back River, Millers Island, Dundalk, Essex, Arbutus, Rosedale, Brooklyn Park, Bowleys Quarters, Linthicum, Edgemere, Lansdowne, Fort Howard, Eastpoint, Halethorpe and Turners Station.
Heavy rainfall forecast for parts of Maryland Friday into Saturday afternoon had already prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for much of the state starting at 2 p.m. Friday and running through 2 p.m. Saturday. Washington, D.C., and much of Northern Virginia is also in the watch area.
Forecasts say 3 inches of rain is possible Friday into Saturday across much of the area. Thunderstorms could cause locally higher rainfall amounts that may result in rapid rises in streams and creeks. This could quickly result in flooding in low lying and poor drainage areas. The watch area includes Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Howard, Baltimore, Harford, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, along with the District of Columbia.
A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.
The weather service urges residents to take precautions ahead of the rainfall. Be sure to:
- If you are near streams or drainage ditches keep an eye on them and be ready to quickly seek higher ground. Water may rise rapidly.
- Clear out storm drains.
- Those prone to basement flooding should prepare.
- Communities prone to flooding should prepare.
In Anticipation of Flooding:
- If possible, clear storm drains of leaves and debris and check gutters.
- If your basement is prone to flooding, move valuables to a higher location.
- Store valuables and important personal papers in a waterproof container.
- Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Know alternate routes to avoid those areas.
- Remember, never attempt to drive over a flooded road – you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious and very difficult to determine at night.
- Flash floods develop from intense storms dropping large amounts of water in a short time. Flash floods occur with little or no warning. During periods of urban flooding, streets can become swift moving rivers and basements can fill with water.
- If a Flash Flood Warning, issued when flooding is imminent or occurring, goes into effect, take immediate precautions.
- In many cases it takes less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles; two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles including SUV’s and pick-up trucks.
- Swiftly moving floodwaters of six inches will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing lack of control and possible stalling.
- Roads covered by floodwaters could already be washed away; don’t drive across roads that are not visible.
- Heed all flooding alerts and warnings from public safety officials.
Driving Precautions during Heavy Rain and Flooding:
- Know your location and do not become distracted while driving. If you need public safety assistance, you need to be able to provide your specific location.
- If you encounter high water, turn around and drive to a safe spot. Call the police non-emergency number (301) 279-8000 to report the situation to emergency personnel.
- Never drive around a street barricade.
- If your vehicle is trapped in high water call 9-1-1 for rescue. Get out and go to higher ground if you can safely do so.
- Six inches of water can sweep a person off their feet and rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and be dangerous to you when walking, wading or swimming through flood waters.
- If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you to determine depth and any underwater debris.
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Originally published July 29, 2017.