Flash floods rip through Maryland community

Flash flooding covers Rogers Avenue and Main Streets in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday, May 27, 2018. Flash flooding and water rescues are being reported in Maryland as heavy rain soaks much of the state. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

After the deadly flooding of 2016, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Ellicott City, Maryland, was reduced to a "war zone" and likened it to the set of a disaster movie. On Monday, Kittleman said the flooding of 2018 was much nastier.

Authorities were still in the assessment stage on a soggy Memorial Day, determining exactly how much nastier. Particularly worrying, Kittleman said, is a 25- to 30-foot-wide hole north of Main Street, where the road appears to have buckled under the weight of the flooding.

"There are a lot of people whose lives are going to be devastated again, and they’ve been working so hard to come back," Kittleman said. "I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I couldn’t imagine what they went through two years ago, and now it’s even worse."

The first concern is people. Emergency responders on Monday conducted 300 rescues — about 30 of them water rescues — as they continued searching for Sgt. Eddison Hermond of the Maryland Army National Guard.

Sarah Lopez was at a Mexican restaurant downtown attending a birthday party with Hermond when the flooding began, she said. Hermond left to help a woman rescue her cat. Witnesses returned and said Hermond slipped into the river and was carried away, said Lopez, whose husband met Hermond 20 years ago in the US Air Force.

"(The people with Hermond) saw him go under the water and not surface," police Chief Gary Gardner told reporters.

Hermond, 39, joined the Air Force in 1996 and served 10 years as an airman, the Guard’s Col. Charles Kohler said. The Severn native joined the Guard in 2009, and is assigned to Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown. He was not on duty when he disappeared.

‘The water was rushing fast’

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