Authorities in Maryland's Howard County have issued what they're calling a "precautionary health alert'' after a sewage main broke following torrential rains that prompted destructive flash flooding.
The main ruptured about 2 miles away from downtown Ellicott City, where the historic main street was ravaged by floodwaters for the second time in less than two years.
The sewage overflow, which was first noticed early Monday, has been stopped. But as much as 500,000 gallons of sewage has already spilled.
Authorities on Tuesday are advising residents to stay away from the affected area well above downtown Ellicott City as a "precautionary health alert." Warning signs have been posted in the general area.
Sunday's dramatic flooding tore up streets and swept away dozens of parked cars in the city, which sits in a ravine on the west bank of the Patapsco, about 13 miles west of Baltimore.
Sunday's torrential rains came just as it seemed the town had come back stronger than ever from a dreadful July 2016 flash flood that killed two people.
In the July 2016 storm, Ellicott City received 6.6 inches of rain over a two- to three-hour period. On Sunday, the community received some 8 inches of rain over a six-hour period, most in an intense, three-hour period, Muccilli said.
Ellicott City certainly got the worst of this weekend's rain. But torrential rains led to such bad flooding in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and the capital of Annapolis that Gov. Larry Hogan declared a statewide emergency to better coordinate support and assistance.