ENVIRONMENT

National Guardsman Missing After Floodwaters Rip Through Maryland Town

Buildings were toppled and cars were swept away in Ellicott City -- again.

For the second time in two years, devastating flash floods plowed through the streets of a Baltimore suburb on Sunday, leaving one man missing.

Eddison Hermond, a 39-year-old active member of the Army National Guard, was reported missing around 12:30 a.m. Monday, according to officials.

Hermond was last seen shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday near La Palapa Grill & Cantina in Ellicott City, Maryland. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 911.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) declared a state of emergency Sunday for all of Maryland as a major front drenched the Baltimore region, dumping some 7.5 inches of rain on Ellicott City in just eight hours.

The town, located about 12 miles west of Baltimore, resides in the valley of the Patapsco River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The river rose 17.8 feet in two hours on Sunday.

The fast-flowing waters toppled buildings and trees and swept away cars in the historic center of the mill town. In some areas, the floodwaters reached to the second story of buildings, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services reported.

Hundreds of emergency workers scrambled to stabilize power lines, shut down roads and highways and evacuate people trapped in their homes, cars and commercial buildings. Rescue workers from as far away as northern Virginia were called in to help. Two people died in similar flooding in July 2016.

In one instance, a wedding party was forced to flee the Main Street Ballroom when the waters burst through the doors.

“It looked like we were in the Titanic or ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’” the bride’s father told The Baltimore Sun.

Some buildings had just finished final renovations from the 2016 flood when they were again gutted by floodwaters. A downtown clock that had survived the last flood and became a symbol of the town’s resilience was toppled on Sunday.

Hogan warned residents to take precautions and protect themselves.

“The immediate focus is ensuring everyone is safe and secure,” Hogan said in a statement. “I strongly urge all Marylanders to monitor the weather, heed all warnings and avoid the affected areas.”

Hogan toured the flooded area on Sunday.

“The place looked terrific” after renovations from the last flood, he told CNN. “It’s just devastating because people have their lives tied up in this and went through a heck of a lot and came back and now they’re starting all over again.”

“I can tell you my heart is broken thinking about what the people have gone through here and the people’s lives who were devastated two years ago and rebuilt. Now, they’re faced with the same daunting task again,” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said at a press conference.

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