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Anne Arundel Man Drowns, As Laurel Officials Eye Flood Waters

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From 4th Street in Laurel, Md., the flood waters remain high.
Martin Di Caro
From 4th Street in Laurel, Md., the flood waters remain high.

Flooding stemming from Wednesday night's strong line of storms claimed the life of an unidentified homeless person on Thursday, as floodwaters lay siege to nearby towns.

Lt. T.J. Smith with the Anne Arudenl County Police says a body was found Thursday morning. The person apparently drowned before officials opened dams to ease pressure on the swollen Patuxent River.

In nearby Laurel, Md., the bridge on Washington Blvd. just north of the historic district is closed this afternoon because of rising flood waters. Even so, things are relatively normal, as businesses are open and traffic is moving.

Just a few blocks north, all eyes are on the rising waters of the swollen Patuxent River after the WSOC opened some dam gates to alleviate flood concerns upstream. That led to a voluntary evacuation order being given to homes and business north of Main Street. Thus far, few have left.

The city has set up a shelter for those who do choose to leave.

The National Weather Service says the water releases will likely cause higher water levels than the area has seen in many years. Areas likely to flood include Laurel and Bowie.

Officials say heavy rains on Wednesday have already caused flooding that closed the MARC commuter rail station in Laurel.

Flood warnings have also been issued along two rivers in Frederick County — the Monocacy River and the Potomac River at Point of Rocks. The expected flooding is described as moderate in both locations, and will not require evacuations.

In Montgomery County, fire officials are urging drivers to exercise caution, saying that while the water is receding, many roads are still flooded and drivers should be careful, even as roads reopen.

Assistant Chief Scott Graham says he expects many roads to remain closed for most of the day.

"If a road is still covered with water, there's still moving water or there's still water on the road, we're asking people to drive around that," Graham says.

Graham the department has rescued passengers from 8 vehicles trapped in high water, but so far no one has been injured.

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