Worst Flood Since Hurricane Isabel Slams MD: See Photos

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Flooded buildings along Dock Street after a winter storm left more than two feet of water inside many businesses in downtown Annapolis, Md, Wednesday, Jan 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

MARYLAND - Heavy rain, strong winds and major flooding slammed Maryland on Tuesday. 

The storm closed roadways, caused nearly 35,000 power outages and disrupted school schedules.

Flooding swamped downtown Annapolis on Tuesday. The high water lingered into Wednesday, which was the first day of the Maryland General Assembly's legislative session. 

Water spilled over the Ego Alley promenade and continued to the doorstep of small businesses along Dock Street. 

Video from City Dock shows a kayaker paddling around what's normally a crowded roadway.

"This is totally wild," Glen Burnie resident LeRonn Herbert said on Facebook, sharing a photo of the inundation at City Dock. "The coastal flooding water [is] moving beyond the harbor in downtown Annapolis, Maryland [and] going past the Alex Haley Kunta Kinte Memorial." 

An employee of Storm Ice Cream Factory surveys damage after a winter storm left more than two feet of water inside many businesses in downtown Annapolis, Md, Wednesday, Jan 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

The Severn River storm surge peaked at 5.1 feet Wednesday around 2:30 a.m., preliminary data said. The National Weather Service classifies any surge above 5 feet as major flooding in the Severn. 

This storm surge would be the third-highest ever recorded in Annapolis. The record flood is still held by Hurricane Isabel with a 7.16-foot storm surge in 2003.

This was the worst flood since Isabel. The 4.9-foot flood on Oct. 30, 2021 is the fourth-worst on record.

The Annapolis floodwaters receded to 2.55 feet, classified as an action-stage surge, by 3:48 p.m. Wednesday. 

The 2.23 inches of rain and the wind gusts up to 60 mph contributed to the inundation.

The hefty wind halted all traffic on the Bay Bridge for nearly four hours. Traffic was also held on the Nice/Middleton Bridge in Charles County for about 10 minutes.

The Key Bridge in Baltimore, the Tydings Memorial Bridge in Port Deposit and the Hatem Memorial Bridge in Havre de Grace also saw lesser wind restrictions throughout the day. 

The Severn River had a storm surge of 5.1 feet, leaving downtown Annapolis flooded at City Dock. (Courtesy of MyCoast MD)

The Annapolis flooding on Tuesday closed the Spa Creek Bridge, Compromise Street, Dock Street and the intersection of Main Street and Compromise Street at Memorial Circle. All city roads reopened by 12:43 p.m. Wednesday.

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said Compromise Street stayed open hours longer than it usually would during a flood. He said that's because the city installed a floodgate that officials discovered on their trip to the Netherlands to study sea level rise. 

"Technology we discovered on the recent study tour to the Netherlands helped keep Compromise St open for many extra hours today but, ultimately, only our new City Dock Park plan will prevent flooding under extreme events like this in [the] future," Buckley said on Facebook, pointing to the city's plan to build an elevated park that doubles as a natural flood barrier at City Dock. "We need to deliver on that plan as soon as possible." 

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The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management said crews responded to:

  • One swift water rescue to save two males and a female.
  • One stranded vehicle.
  • A concerned resident whose 1-year-old child relies on a BiPAP ventilation machine. The home lost power, so the Office of Emergency Management gave the family a generator to use overnight. The power was restored, the generator was returned and the child is doing well.
  • Flooding at the South River Rehab facility where the sump pump failed to keep water out of the basement. The Office of Emergency Management worked with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department and the Department of Public Works to pump the water from the basement. The residents were not affected by the flooding.

Flooding was also reported in Pasadena, Highland Beach and Galesville among other areas.

Greenstreet Gardens, located in Lothian, is helping residents recover from the damage. Anybody who books a yard clean-up by Jan. 31 can use the code "WINDSTORM24" at checkout to get 20% off. 

Water flowed over this Edgewater dock at Westminister Park on Glebe Creek. (Courtesy of Kim Mundorff Miller)

The flooding extended beyond Anne Arundel County, hitting other coastal towns as well.

Standing water stymied traffic in southeastern Baltimore County, where Bowleys Quarters was a wet mess. 

With homes and roads close to waterways, the bayside neighborhood is familiar with flood damage. Many homes were destroyed there during Hurricane Isabel.

Tuesday's storm flooded Bowleys Quarters Road and Susquehanna Avenue, blocking the only entrances to the peninsula community. Other interior roads were also impassable from flooding.

The Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department started voluntary evacuations after it reported multiple stranded cars.

"The water receded over the night, and residents have been cleaning up throughout the morning," Baltimore County Council Member David Marks said Wednesday on Facebook. "Roads are reopened in most areas, but caution is advised. We are in touch with the County Executive's staff about finding ways to dispose of debris, and with our state legislators about insurance questions." 

Floods left Bay Drive, pictured above, impassable in Bowleys Quarters. This neighborhood also saw heavy damage during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. (Courtesy of Baltimore County Council Member David Marks)

The flooding also slammed Harford County.

The Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association said it rescued 10 people from vehicles stuck in standing water

Crews said a tree fell in Bel Air, damaging multiple houses and injuring one person.

A photo from Tydings Park Marina appears to show a boat mostly underwater Wednesday morning. This was one of several boats that needed to be refloated in Havre de Grace, Chesapeake Bay Media reported.

Video from Millard Tydings Memorial Park shows waves sloshing over the bulkhead

"I live on my boat and [I've] never seen it this high," Kahn Webster said in a Havre de Grace Facebook group. "[I] thought it was pretty wild but the water is cold."

Baltimore resident Mark McCullough shared photos of the aftermath on Facebook. 

McCullough said there was "lots of flooding and debris at the Havre de Grace dock and walking pier this morning."

A van got stuck in a ditch in Bowleys Quarters on the flooded Susquehanna Avenue. (Courtesy of Eric Baumgart)

The site PowerOutage.US said 34,892 Maryland customers were without electricity at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, but the situation improved overnight.

The state had 13,586 power outages as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management reported.

The outages were concentrated in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. 

Public schools closed early on Tuesday in these districts:

  • Anne Arundel County 
  • Baltimore County
  • Calvert County
  • Charles County
  • Harford County 
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George's County
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These districts opened late on Wednesday:

Schools in these districts were closed on Wednesday:

Baltimore CountyAnne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis each released online forms for residents and businesses to report damage. 

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Editor's Note: The author of this story grew up in Bowleys Quarters and has relatives in the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department. Patch decided to include information from Bowleys Quarters because the flooding was disruptive there and we had access to photos from the scene.

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