Maine Worries About Flooding as Wet Fall Gets Wetter

November 17, 2006

One of the wettest falls on record is raising concerns about possible flooding in Maine.

Rainfall in October was almost twice the normal amount, and the soggy weather has persisted into November. Groundwater levels have risen, creating the kind of sloppy, muddy conditions usually associated with early spring’s mud season.

Tuesday’s heavy rain caused some flooding is spots throughout the state and saturated the ground. Weather observers say that more rain late Thursday into Friday could cause streams and rivers to overflow.

“The ground is just saturated. It can’t take any more. That’s our biggest concern right now,” said Mark Belserene, disaster exercise coordinator for the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

He said MEMA will be closely watching streams and rivers, which could overflow their banks depending on the amount of rain in the next storm.

From January through October, Portland recorded a total of 52 inches of precipitation, the third highest level on record for that period in Maine. If wet weather continues through the end of the year, the record of nearly 66.5 inches set last year could be broken.

“We can’t seem to get out of this rain,” said Art Lester, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray. “We’re working on a pretty wet year.”

With all of the rain, levels of wells tested in Brunswick, Oxford, Sanford and Litchfield are filled to record levels.

“All of the surface water is in the very high range, except a couple that are considered high,” said Jim Caldwell of the U.S. Geological Survey in Augusta.

The good news is that wells supplying drinking water will be well-supplied for winter. And if all of the rain was snow, Maine would be buried.


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