Sunday floods raged through the center of a Maryland township that had been hit by floods almost two years ago, causing residents to seek refuge in the upper floors and send out authorities, officials said.
The community, Ellicott City, about 15 miles west of Baltimore, witnessed a six-meter-high flood in some places, according to witnesses. Injuries were not reported immediately and no deaths were reported.
"We are not aware of anyone who has lost his life or someone missing," said Allan Kittleman, County Executive of Howard County
Howard The District Fire Department and Rescue Service said on Twitter that lifeguards would be called and that rapid-fire units would come from areas as far away as Northern Virginia. "If you're trapped, we'll come," it said.
Photos and video from Downtown showed a white flag with "SOS" on it, a window, hanging heap of rubble and at least one car mauled in the floods. Max Robinson, who lives on the main street in the community, said on Twitter that the water was over six feet high in some places.
A local company, Tea on the Tiber, wrote on Facebook that 30 people are trapped. "Send help," it said. Rescuers later confirmed on Twitter that everyone had safely evacuated the building.
Mark Miller, a spokesman for the county, said the episode surpassed the July 2016 flood, in which two people died after more than two hours fell six inches of rain.
This flood rips sidewalks, guts many of the city's picturesque shops and transports vehicles, some of them depositing blocks.
Sally Fox Tennant, owner of Discoveries, a craft and jewelry store on Main Street, said she felt "completely deaf" and in shock.
"I put sandbags in front of the shop door and watched the road rushing forward, thinking, Wow, I do not think those road works will continue."
Ms. Tennant, who lives in an apartment above her shop, has left her cat behind and has fled to another shop across the street when her cellar began to flood. With rising waters, she said, she climbed through a window on the third floor of the shop and sought refuge in a strange house. She was later transported to Howard County Police Headquarters.
She tried to call loved ones who use her water-saturated mobile phone.
"I have owned this business for 38 years," she said. "During the flood two years ago, I lost almost everything, this time it looks so much worse, I think my shop is completely gone, I just do not think I can start all over again."
Mr. Miller, who lives three miles from Ellicott City, said he has six inches of water in his basement, something that has not happened in the more than 25 years he lived in the house.
"We had a very, very heavy body. The cell moved over us, and it just dumped and did not let up," he said.
Ellicott City was founded in 1772 as a mill town and has been used to tourists for decades with its historic charm and antique shops. Its location in the Patapsco River Valley and its location on a granite rock make it prone to flooding "with terrific force," Miller said.