This story was updated 3:07 p.m., Feb. 1, 2013.
Laurel is drying out and getting back to “normal,” said city officials, following flooding that covered parts of the business district leaving a coating of mud and debris, but little damage.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission was forced to release water from the Brighton Dam in Brookeville and the T. Howard Duckett Dam in Laurel due to heavier-than-expected rainfall of about six inches on Wednesday night, according to WSSC officials.
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe issued a statement Thursday recommending evacuations of residences and businesses near Main Street and the river. By 9 p.m. the water level receded and the evacuation was lifted.
Two Main Street businesses — Fred Frederick Collision and Progressive Rent-A-Car — experienced high water, but there was no structural damage from the flooding, said Pete Piringer, city information officer. No injuries or residential flood damage was reported within city limits, he said.
An unidentified homeless woman died outside city limits. Anne Arundel County police clearing out a homeless camp impacted by significant flooding in the Laurel area found her body floating near Laurel-Fort Meade Road and Racetrack Road.
The commuter lot at the MARC train station and Riverfront Park, which runs alongside the Patuxent, were closed Thursday due to the floods, but reopened Friday morning, Piringer said.
“We have a decent coating of mud, sticks and stones, other sorts of debris, but it’s pretty much back to normal for the most part,” he said.
Fifteen vehicles parked in the commuter lot were moved by Laurel Police as the lot flooded and taken to impound lots, Piringer said.
Some of the vehicles were partially submerged, others were in danger of being submerged, Piringer said.
Piringer said that 12 of the vehicles have since been recovered by their owners, and that even though they disregarded the barricades that had been put in place, they would not be fined.
Larry Holder, body shop manager at Fred Frederick Collision, said Friday morning that employees finished cleaning and scrubbing down the shop and were back to business. The shop was closed Thursday so employees could move or lift up vehicles and equipment, Holder said.
“In the morning, when I got here, around 10 [a.m.], you could still walk around, but by 1 [p.m.] it was pretty much uninhabitable,” Holder said.
Bill Polizos, vice president of Progressive Rent-A-Car in Laurel, said his business remained open Thursday, despite flooding in the parking lot and two feet of water in back.
“We’re like the Postal Service,” Polizos said. “What’s their motto? Neither rain, nor sleet nor flooding will stop us.”
The flood did discourage business, as Polizos said it was a “slow day.”
Polizos said the majority of the vehicles were out on rental, and the remainder was moved to higher ground.
“Luckily, we did not get any rain in the building [or any] weather damage,” said Polizos adding the front parking lot was filled with “mud and muck.”