Dozens of roads remained closed Thursday afternoon after the remnants of Hurricane Ida pummeled Frederick County Wednesday, leaving behind as much as 8 inches of rain in some places.
Meteorologist Kyle Pallozzi of the National Weather Service said they received reports of rainfall totals between 5 and 7 inches across the areas of Emmitsburg, Thurmont and Sabillasville. In the southern part of the county, rain fell between 3 and 5 inches, he said. The greatest recorded rainfall came about three miles north of Frederick, at 8.15 inches, which Pallozzi called a “pretty rare event” for this time of year in Frederick County.
“There was quite a bit of flooding across Frederick County,” Pallozzi said. “The rain was definitely the issue yesterday.”
And the floods lingered Thursday as the Monocacy River reached what Pallozzi described as the “major flood stage.” He predicted the river would remain at that stage throughout the day, then dip below flood stage overnight.
At Culler Lake in Frederick Thursday afternoon, the sun shined down on visitors strolling along the bank and on ducks splashing in the unusually brown water. Karin Tucker and her children offered extra ice cream they’d just bought to passersby. The day before, Tucker had been hunkered down in the basement at Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School, where she works, to wait out what they thought was a possible tornado. (No tornados are believed to have touched down in Frederick Wednesday.) At about the same time she took shelter, Tucker learned she needed to pick up her children from Orchard Grove Elementary School.
“It was very chaotic,” she said.
Tucker asked a neighbor to pick up her kids, then called Orchard Grove to notify them.
“While I was hiding in the basement, I had to call the school,” Tucker said.
On the other side of Culler Lake, friends James “Doc” Cain and Michael Jackson came from Hagerstown to fish, though they didn’t see much more than a turtle. They hadn’t been to visit in years. Jackson is originally from Frederick and said he still remembered another flood from decades ago.
“It was real bad,” Jackson said, sitting atop a bucket as his fishing pole rested on a stick. “All the jewelry stores and all flooded out on Market Street.”
First-year Hood College student Chris Mejia and his father, Will Mejia, fished on the other side of the lake. Chris said he fishes there frequently, and that the color of Culler Lake definitely seemed off Thursday. He pointed to the bank, where blades of bent grass covered in dried mud showed where the water line once stood. Chris commutes from Rockville but said his friends who live on campus witnessed flooding.
Baker Park endured much of the flooding, but it’s designed to do so.
“The Carroll Creek flood control system worked well yesterday, and there are no issues or damage as a result of the storm,” Frederick Deputy Director of Public Works Tracy Coleman wrote in an email. “Baker Park flooded, [which it] is supposed to because it is part of the overall system.”
Coleman urged residents not to venture into the water, especially in Baker Park along Carroll Creek. The water can be dangerous for multiple reasons.
“Much like a riptide at the ocean, there may be undercurrents along the flood waters that can pull people under,” Coleman wrote. “We have some great photos and videos of the inlets to the Carroll Creek flood control conduits showing the torrent of water that flows into the entrance at North Bentz Street and Carroll Parkway. If a person was anywhere near those weir walls, they would have no chance of swimming away.”
Additionally, the water may carry trash and debris, Coleman added.
On Thursday, the city issued an alert for wastewater overflow into Carroll Creek. The heavy rainfall exceeded the City of Frederick Wastewater Treatment Plant’s capacity, leading it to an overflow starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continuing until 12:30 a.m. Thursday. The city said the State of Maryland Department of the Environment and Health Department has been notified, and signs have been posted to warn the public to avoid the area. The drinking water supply is not affected by this incident, and the city’s water supply is safe for all uses.
The Maryland State Highway Administration closed Md. 26 from Sebastian Boulevard to Md. 194 due to flooding just outside of the city limits, the city of Frederick shared on its Facebook Thursday.
To the north of Frederick in Emmitsburg, the town’s community center and town office closed Thursday due to basement flooding, the town posted on social media.
Mayor Donald Briggs said staff were busy Thursday assessing damage around town and cleaning up debris. He said they received a few calls for sewage backups and experienced flash flooding on several streets. As Briggs traveled around town, he noticed stumps and trees scattered about but said they weren’t blocking roads.
Briggs invited residents to take advantage of a dumpster recently placed in the rear parking lot of the community center at 300A S. Seton Ave. Residents can use the dumpster to dispose of items damaged by the storm. Staff ask residents not to leave items on the ground and to only dispose of items that fit inside the dumpster. The dumpster will not be staffed.
Elsewhere in the county, four parks closed as a result of the storm. Pinecliff Park and Buckeystown Park are expected to remain closed throughout the weekend, county spokeswoman Vivian Laxton said, while it is unknown as to when Devilbiss Bridge and Creagerstown parks will reopen.
Looking to the days ahead, Pallozzi said locals can expect a stretch of sunny weather into Saturday.