Deluge Kills 4 in Maryland: Storms Not Likely to Abate for Days

By Wagner, Arlo; Scheets, Gary | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

Deluge Kills 4 in Maryland: Storms Not Likely to Abate for Days


Wagner, Arlo, Scheets, Gary, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Four people were killed and at least nine others pulled heroically from storm-swollen creeks and rivers yesterday as thunderstorms dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of Maryland.

A fifth person, a child, is also feared drowned in Harford County.

Floodwaters forced the evacuation of more than 50 people in Frederick County, dozens in Baltimore and at least 21 in Washington County, where a Hagerstown home was swept from its foundation.

The forecast for the region through Saturday calls for more downpours.

Tom Dougherty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said there was "major flooding" on the Monocacy River near Frederick, whose waters were 15 feet above the flood level yesterday afternoon and would probably rise another 10 feet.

Mr. Dougherty said 13 inches of rain fell in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday night, contributing to the already rain-filled rivers and creeks in northern and central Maryland.

There are flood warnings for all Maryland counties west of the Chesapeake Bay and most of northern Virginia.

The storms turned fatal in Emmitsburg, Baltimore, Catonsville and Ellicott City.

Searchers found the body of Karen D. Roman, 36, of Emmitsburg who apparently was swept from her car and drowned, Frederick County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Jewell said.

Mrs. Roman left her job at a restaurant at about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. Her body was found about a mile downstream from her car, which was on a water-covered bridge over Owens Creek.

Rescue workers said Mrs. Roman had decided to brave the storm to be with her four children when her car stalled and was covered with water.

Orion James died of a heart attack when he was struck by lightning in Baltimore yesterday afternoon. Mr. James, 28, was working on a roof at a construction site.

Baltimore County fire officials found the bodies of an unidentified man and woman who fell out of their raft shortly after 5 p.m. on the Patapsco River. The man's body was found in Catonsville. The river's currents carried the woman's body to Ellicott City.

Meanwhile, rescue workers in Harford County were searching Lake Serene in Edgewater Village for a child who was said to have gone underwater.

All of Emmitsburg, a 239-year-old town perched on a knoll, was closed to traffic for several hours yesterday morning as overflow from Toms and Flat Run creeks virtually surrounded the Frederick County town.

"This place was like a little island to itself," said Art Damuth, president of Emmitsburg Fire Department.

Emmitsburg suffered the most damage and near disaster from the rains that began about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Volunteer fire and rescue workers saved nine residents by 3:30 a.m yesterday.

Elsewhere, the downpours closed 18 roads, including Route 28 at the Seneca Creek crossing east of Dawsonville in Montgomery County. Most were reopened late yesterday, but Route 28 and 140 east of Emmitsburg remained closed.

White's Ferry across the Potomac in western Montgomery County was closed indefinitely because of high water.

The American Red Cross opened two shelters; one at South Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, the other in Memorial Gymnasium at Mount Saint Mary's College south of Emmitsburg.

Eighteen families were provided food and sleeping facilities at Mount Saint Mary's, said Mark Smullen, 34, shelter operator. By 4 p.m. yesterday, they had returned to their homes or to friends' and relatives' residences.

One of the nine persons saved by rescue workers was Brenda Myers, 35, who was returning home from an office banquet in her 1989 Chevrolet Corsica. The Flat Run creek waters were about four feet above the bridge, built in 1927, when she jammed her car into nearby sign posts and ended up in the swollen creek. …

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