Snowmelt, rain leave area roads flooded

High water closes roads, blocks school bus routes

Carroll County

December 12, 2003|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Heavy overnight rains combined with melting snow caused flooding that closed nearly three dozen roads in the county yesterday, authorities said.

The flooding also brought an unexpected vacation day for 300 public school students whose buses could not reach them.

Especially hard hit were areas in the western portion of the county, but other low-lying areas were also affected by swollen streams.

Weather watcher Larry Myers reported 1.88 inches of rain at his home north of Westminster.

About 35 roads throughout the county were closed yesterday morning because of flooding, said Benton Watson, director of the Carroll County Bureau of Roads. By mid-afternoon, with water slowly receding, the number was down to 17, mostly in the western part of the county near the Monocacy River and its feeder streams, he said.

State police in Westminster reported no major weather-related accidents.

Marriottsville Road No. 2 at Henryton Road near the Carroll-Howard county line was under water yesterday morning, creating backups on Route 32 and other nearby roads. The road was reopened by 11:30 a.m., Watson said.

In flood-prone Detour, Double Pipe Creek swelled over its banks and across Route 77.

"The special down here today is fish-and-mud soup," joked Steve Mehring, who had stopped in the Detour Village Store for lunch.

"Tomorrow it's turtle soup," added Roxanne Burrier, the store's owner.

Union Bridge was surrounded on three sides by muddy, fast-moving water from Little Pipe Creek. Route 75 at Main Street was closed as 2 feet of water surged across the bridge and road and into nearby businesses.

Rachel Quesenberry and Jennifer Shafer stood in the middle of South Main Street staring at the water coming across the main thoroughfare into town.

"It was like this in September; it might be a little worse," Quesenberry, a town resident and employee of Union Bridge Liquors and Deli, said, referring to the storm that caused flooding several days after Tropical Storm Isabel.

The only ways into and out of town were indirect routes, such as Ladiesburg Road.

Shafer, who lives in Rocky Ridge, Frederick County, and works at the Union Bridge Pharmacy, said she made it through Detour, but had to turn around on Bucher John Road on her way into Union Bridge and take other roads to South Main Street.

Leah Potter of Detour had about 4 inches of water in her basement at 4 a.m. yesterday.

"What I have in the basement I can get out in 20 minutes," she said. "It's an old house, I don't think anything can hurt it after 125 years."

High water and closed roads throughout the county prevented school buses from reaching all of their stops.

"There were areas we just couldn't get to," said Stephen Guthrie, the school system's assistant superintendent of administration. "Usually, when that happens, we try to reroute the bus to get into the development a different way and just take a little longer on the route."

But yesterday morning, all access roads into some neighborhoods were cordoned off, forcing bus drivers to "just back out of there and contact the school," Guthrie said. By afternoon, he said the "latest word from the state police is that the waters are receding - slowly, but they're receding."

Sun staff writer Jennifer McMenamin contributed to this article.

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