Footage of Ellicott City showed water powering through buildings and sending cars downstream. Officials are assessing the destruction, just two years after another flood killed two people and caused millions in damages.
Flash floods struck the US state of Maryland as the Patapsco River overran its banks in the same area west of Baltimore that saw deadly flash floods just two years ago.
Footage of downtown Ellicott City showed a main street that had been turned into a raging river, pummeling through the ground floor of some buildings and engulfing cars.
Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for the flooded area before traveling there himself late on Sunday.
'Worse than the July 2016'
As the floodwaters receded, emergency workers could not yet say whether there had been any casualties, but local residents told The Baltimore Sun that it looked worse than the July 2016 flooding that killed two people.
Mike Muccilli, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Ellicott City had been hit by nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain over a six-hour period, with most falling during an intense three-hour period.
"In a normal heavy rain event, you wouldn't see this amount of flooding, where you see cars floating down the road," Muccilli said. "This was a true flash flood."
es/cmk (AP, Reuters)