Ellicott City flash flood, Maryland on July 31, 2016.
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By Maya Rhodan
August 1, 2016

Over the span of just two hours on Saturday, nearly 6 inches of rainfall fell in Ellicott City, Md. resulting in devastating conditions that left two people dead.

Dozens of buildings were damaged and cars piled up on the streets of the town, just outside of Baltimore. “We’ve never seen such devastation in Howard County for over 50 years,” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman told CNN. “In the past, it has been bad. It has never been close to being this bad.”

Residents of Ellicott City formed a human chain to assist in the rescue of people trapped in cars during the floods, but at least two people were swept away by rushing waters. The bodies of Jessica Watsula, 35, of Lebanon, Penn., and Joseph Blevins, 38, of Windsor Mill, Md. were recovered from the Patapsco River after the floods.

On Sunday, state officials began allocating resources to assist in Ellicott City’s recovery. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the town early on Sunday, July 31, and was on the ground there to assist. In an interview with the Weather Channel, Hogan praised the work of citizens who risked their lives to help others in the storm.

“There were incredible rescues … people being rescued out of cars with human chains reaching from restaurants to try to get people out of cars,” Hogan said. “A lot of heroes last night that saved a lot of lives.”

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