Maryland's Floods a Terrible Tragedy, and a Sign of More to Come
"Two years ago, Ellicott City, Maryland, was hit by a debilitating flash flood that turned the town’s historic Main Street into a raging muddy river. Scientists said the July 2016 rainstorm was a once-in-a-thousand-year event," writes Henry Grabar while building up to a surprise twist.
But on Sunday it happened again: 7 to 9 inches of rain fell in the area, 10 miles west of Baltimore, and another torrent swept cars and trees through town. More than 1,000 911 calls were recorded on Sunday afternoon, more than 300 residents were evacuated, and a National Guard sergeant died trying to rescue someone.
The headline of the story says the second thousand-year flood event in two years in Ellicott City is a warning of heavy rains to come—a sign of climate change that will strike river towns with regularity years and decades before the seas have risen to inundate coastal communities.
There is another angle to this story as well, according to Grabar: "But climate change isn’t the only reason these disasters aren’t quite natural. Unchecked sprawl has built a concrete funnel around Ellicott City."