Roads flood on first day of summer

Posted June 20, 2009, at 6:52 p.m.

The first day of summer in Maine brought gray skies and wind Sunday, one day after some areas in eastern and central Maine received around 5 inches of rain which forced some road closures.

The National Weather Service in Gray said high winds and big waves Sunday could cause minor flooding on the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire.

Forecasters say northeast winds and the building of waves will combine with the highest astronomical tides of the month.

A flood warning is in effect from 9 p.m. Sunday until 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The NWS center in Caribou reported that Orono received 5.02 inches of rain and Harrington had 5 inches through Sunday afternoon. Columbia Falls had 4.9 inches, while Bangor had 4.48 inches.

Rainfall amounts Saturday ranged from 1 to around 3 inches near the coast, according to the NWS Web site. Coastal areas of Hancock County south had less than half an inch of rain Sunday evening, while parts of Washington County and southern Aroostook County had up to 2½ inches.

The Maine Department of Transportation on Sunday was dealing with flooding on Forest Avenue near Pushaw Lake in Orono, according to a Penobscot County dispatcher.

A small section of Route 69 in Hampden was closed by a washout for a few hours Saturday afternoon but was open as of 6:15 p.m., Hampden police Officer Ben Eyles said.

DOT signs indicated the road was flooded and Eyles estimated that 3-4 inches of water was on the roadway. By late Saturday afternoon traffic was moving through the area, located about one-quarter mile north of the Winterport town line.

A DOT crew assessed the situation after noon, Hampden police said. Sections of the road had eroded from water washing over it, police added.

Heavy rains Friday night caused flooding on roads throughout Waldo County, police officials said Saturday, including six in Searsport alone.

While a Waldo County police dispatcher said she knew of no road closures due to the storm, there was a minor fender-bender accident in Lincolnville that was attributed to the weather.

Route 1 in Lincolnville had minor flooding, but the road was not closed.

Roads also were flooded in Belfast, Stockton Springs, Northport, Frankfort and Brooks.

In Ellsworth, Route 179 was closed for several hours Saturday morning and early afternoon after it washed out due to flooding. Dispatchers said the road was closed from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. while road crews worked to fix the damage.

Road flooding also was reported in Harrington and on Mount Desert Island.

Dispatchers in Hancock and Washington counties said there were several instances of minor road flooding elsewhere but added that they knew of no other significant washouts or closures. The DOT reported that water covered the road on Route 1A in Wesley and also on Route 1A in Machias, according to the NWS Web site.

Acadia National Park temporarily closed three roads, including the road to Schoodic Point, but Acadia’s main Park Loop Road remained open.

BDN writers Jessica Bloch in Bangor, Bill Trotter in Ellsworth and Abigail Curtis in Belfast contributed to this report.

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