Forecasters eye County’s flood potential

Posted March 15, 2009, at 10:50 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Spring is on the way and forecasters, particularly in northern Maine, are watching the area’s rivers and streams in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s flooding in Aroostook County.

Mark Turner, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, said late last week that forecasters are optimistic that the chance of spring flooding this year is much lower than last year.

“We don’t see anything right now that leads us to believe that there is a chance of flooding like we saw last year,” said Turner. “The amount of snow and precipitation we have received this year is above normal but nowhere close to last year’s numbers.

In late April 2008, the St. John and Fish rivers in Fort Kent reached record levels, causing extreme flooding, closing off roads, shutting down the international bridge between Maine and New Brunswick and causing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

Parts of southern Aroostook County, including Island Falls, also experienced flooding.

With that memory still fresh, Turner said that the NWS is “keeping an eye on pending weather.”

“That is what will really determine what is going to happen,” said Turner.

The Maine River Flow Advisory Commission also is keeping an eye on the situation. The board met in early March to discuss the possibility of spring flooding in the state and also concluded that “this winter’s snowpack, ice conditions, stream flows and headwaters storages have combined to create flood potential that is near normal for the time of year.”

Commission members will meet again if conditions warrant. Snow surveys will be conducted each week from now until the snow cover is gone.

jlbdn@ainop.com

532-9257

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