MEMA Awaiting Word To Enter Downtown Ellicott City

Employees will be assessing the damage from Saturday’s flash flooding.

Ellicott CIty, Md (KM)  Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials are waiting for an opportunity to enter downtown Ellicott City. Spokesman Ed McDonough says MEMA will be doing an assessment of the damage from Saturday evening flash flooding which tore up the roads and sidewalks, and destroyed storefronts in the historic town. A man and a woman were killed.

“The biggest issue right now is the safety of the buildings there. And until that’s taken care of and the roadway is in some semblance of travel ability, there’s really not a lot we can do at this point to get in and start looking at the situation and assessing the damages,” McDonough says.

The information gathered by MEMA employees will be used on an application for federal assistance to cover the damages, he says.

McDonough says it’s uncertain how many businesses were damaged and destroyed by the flooding. He said Howard County’s Public Works Director said crews did a preliminary survey of the situation in the downtown. “They’re more concerned with making sure the ground is stable, and making sure none buildings are going to collapse, and trying to shore up the roadway,” he said.
US Senator Barbara Mikulski  toured Ellicott City on Monday, and praised the bravery of those citizens who formed a human chain to rescue a woman from floodwaters. “It took my breath away,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

During her visit, Mikulski  said she is working with Governor Larry Hogan to submit a request for federal assistance.

Meanwhile, the man killed by the floodwaters on Saturday was the director of financial aid at the University of Baltimore. President Kurt Schmoke and Provost Darlene Brannigan Smith said in a statement that they ‘re “shocked and saddened”: by the death of 38-year-old Joseph Blevins of WIndsor Mill. He was in a vehicle with his girlfriend which got caught up in the floodwaters. She was rescued, but he was swept away.

Also, the brother of a woman who died in the flash flooding says Jessica Watsula was out with his wife and two other relatives having dinner in Ellicott City when the flooding occurred. They had just left the restaurant and got into Watsula’s compact car. It was pushed down the road by the water. Watsula and the other women she was traveling with lost track of each other.