Friday, September 23, 2011

A field trip to Ellicott City MD: floods can run down from higher ground

I took a day trip Thursday to Ellicott City, MD, a charming little town west of Baltimore, in Howard County, just to see how affected a typical town was by the floods from Irene and then especially Lee.

The high water mark, I was told by the B&O Museum, wasn’t much over the beginning of the white “yardstick”, whereas Agnes in 1972 (at 14.5 feet) and an 1868 flood of over 21 feet.

The biggest problems, the museum said,  ironically, came from water ran downhill from the higher ground, where the “Tiber River” runs down into the town and drains into the Patapsco River, where floods are measured.  So living on higher ground doesn't always protect you, if there are small or even buried streams (in the 1950s in some areas in Virginia and Maryland it was common to bury small streams underground under larger back yards; anyone buying an old home should check for this).  

Most businesses were open.

A City (coin pay) parking lot on the Patapsco warned that cars would be towed when there are flood warnings.

There is a restored 19th Century “Colored School” on the top of the hill, on Rogers Ave., resembling another school in Boyds, MD (see Movies Blog, July 7, 2008).  Nearby, on a wooded hiking trail, is an odd 19th Century gravestone site.
Shades of "Blair Witch Project"?

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