MEMA to Coordinate Request
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today requested that President Barack Obama issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Howard County as a result of the floods that ripped through Main Street in Ellicott City on July 30, 2016. An approved disaster declaration would bring federal assistance to Howard County and Ellicott City through state and local agencies and public safety partners that served them during the storm.
"Our administration has made it clear that we will do everything we can, and coordinate with all levels of government to help the residents of Ellicott City and Howard County rebuild their community after the disastrous flooding that occurred," said Governor Hogan. "These federal funds will go a long way in helping residents and local businesses rebuild infrastructure and will also help with some of the costs associated with the initial clean-up efforts.”
A storm cell dumped nearly six inches of rain in the area during a few hours on the evening of July 30, causing a wall of water to cascade down Main Street. Two people were killed in the storm, dozens of buildings – many a mix of business and residential – were damaged and about 200 vehicles were swept downstream or flooded. Ellicott City sits at the intersection of the West Branch of the Patapsco River and two smaller streams.
Eastern Howard County was severely impacted by this storm. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman quickly declared a local State of Emergency for the county, and Governor Hogan followed with a Maryland State of Emergency for the county. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) coordinated the state response and recovery through the State Emergency Operations Center, and also coordinated the movement of resources from other jurisdiction in Maryland and from other states.
Governor Hogan designated MEMA as the state coordinating agency for the request. MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland directed MEMA staff to work with Howard County staff and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to perform a damage assessment as the first step in seeking federal assistance. This process started several days after the storm, when building inspectors and public works officials declared the area safe.
“MEMA worked closely with Howard County and FEMA to jointly assess damages and costs incurred and initial estimates have validated the significant impact of this storm,” said Director Strickland. “Many long-time residents said this flooding is the worst they have ever seen in that area. The amount of damage that the storm caused in just a couple of hours was devastating.