OC Looks To Help Ellicott City After Massive Flooding

OCEAN CITY — The Town of Ocean City has reached out to Ellicott City with offers of assistance after the historic town was hit with a major flooding event that devastated much of the downtown area last weekend.

For a resort town that yearly stares down major Atlantic hurricanes and other severe coastal storms, reaching out to other communities when they are devastated by weather events has become a natural response. Over six inches of rain fell on the historic town along the Patapsco River west of Baltimore in about two hours on Saturday night. The torrential rains quickly swelled the river and its tributaries and severely flooded downtown Ellicott City, sweeping cars down Main Street and crumbling businesses in what the National Park Service called an “off the charts” event.

City Manager Doug Miller, who was city manager of La Plata, Md. when a major tornado swept through in 2002, said he immediately reached out to Howard County and Ellicott City to offer the resort’s assistance if needed.

“Over the weekend in Howard County, the area of Ellicott City was inundated with six-and-a-half inches of rain and experienced probably its worst flooding since Hurricane Agnes in 1972,” he said. “We are reaching out to the Howard County government to offer any assistance they might need from Ocean City and if they do request help, I will get back to you with more details.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said on Monday he appreciated Miller reaching out to Howard County in its time of need.

“Thanks for looking quickly into the Ellicott City issue,” he said. “That’s excellent and something we should follow up on. Our city manager coming from La Plata is very cognizant of what can happen quickly in a small town. When you have an emergency situation like the one they’re experiencing, help from another town is very important. We’ve all heard the story many times when La Plata suffered a major tornado, Ocean City showed up with manpower and equipment and it made a huge difference.”

In an interview in January after accepting the Ocean City position, Miller recalled the resort coming to La Plata’s rescue.

“In 2002 … that tornado came through at 7:18 p.m. as the sun was going down and [then] Mayor [Jim] Mathias was literally at my front door saying we’re here to help,” Miller said. “About two hours later, a big tractor-trailer with a large Ocean City logo on it showed up with materials and people and stayed for several weeks to help us with recovery.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.