But the downtown area, which is woven with three different rivers, isn't a stranger to flooding, and numerous reports over the years, including as far back as the 1970s, have warned that Ellicott City, in particular, was in danger and a flood could devastate the area.
Local leaders long have known that storms could leave the city, which sits at the bottom of a valley, in shambles. But critics say very little over the years has been done to meet the threat head-on, even though study after study has offered both warnings of disaster and possible solutions.
After the (2016) flood… Howard County commissioned a study that pointed to blocked water channels as one of the primary reasons for flooding. Another study found that the walls along streams that wind through the city needed repairs and wouldn’t hold up against heavy floods.
Other studies identified solutions to the threat: The clearest way to help mitigate flooding was through retention ponds. The county rejected the plans because of the high expense and low reward since the fixtures wouldn't be a cure-all for the floods, especially for intense storms such as what the area saw Sunday.
The county reversed its decision after the 2016 floods. Four stormwater retention facilities are in the progress of being planned and constructed…
"It’s study after study after study. That’s all they do is conduct studies," said Ron Peters, a property owner who works on a citizen flood group with Howard County. "It’s just another way for them to not actually do anything."…
But all of the posed solutions wouldn't completely fix the community's problems since much of it is centers on old structures that don't have to meet current standards for storm water management, such as retention ponds that could absorb rain.