A woman can be heard saying “Oh my God” to a 911 operator in emergency calls from those trapped Saturday in the historic flooding that hit Ellicott City, Md.

“Water is above the door, and it is coming in the building,” the caller tells the operator, who tries to guide them as she sends rescuers to them along Main Street. “The building is buckling. … There is water on the inside. … We can see the ceiling is crumbling a little bit.”

Police in Howard County released the 911 recordings Wednesday.

The flooding that hit Ellicott City, which sits near the Patapsco River, was called an “off-the-charts” thousand-year event. Nearly six inches of rain fell in a two-hour period.


A timeline of the rainfall that hit Ellicott City at record levels. (National Weather Service)

Two people died in the flooding, and it wrecked scores of homes and businesses in the historic town.

Some people created a human chain to rescue a woman from a flooded car. The incident was caught on video.

Callers reported people clinging to cars as the vehicles were being swept away.

“We are aware of it, and we’re trying to get them help,” a 911 operator tells a caller.

In another call, a person calls from a restaurant along Main Street reporting that people are stuck on an upper floor.

Another resident said water was “getting close” as she and her family retreated to the second floor of a home along a historic street in the town as floodwater poured in.


Police block access to Ellicott City after overnight flooding. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Another person reported having 15 to 30 people trapped inside his business.

“We’ll be out there as soon as we can, sir,” the operator tells him, as he describes two feet of water coming inside.

“I’m unsure of what I need to be doing,” he told the operator. She told him to get everyone to higher ground and that help was on the way.

“We’ll be out there as soon as we can,” the operator said, and in comes her next call.

Another caller says “flooding is an understatement.”