May 21, 2018
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After flooding rains, more snow hits Western Maine

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

CARIBOU, Maine — After heavy rain soaked the state and washed out roads Sunday and Monday, parts of Maine were once again hit with snow early Wednesday.

By 7 a.m., the snow had mostly stopped around the state, according to the National Weather service in Caribou. Washington County and southern Aroostook County were the hardest hit, with eight inches of snow in Topsfield and four to five inches of snow in Houlton. The snow sparked delays but no cancellations in the affected areas.

Officials with the National Weather Service in Caribou and state and county emergency management officials continued to keep an eye on several waterways in the state Tuesday after the storm dropped several inches of rain on parts of the state.

Washington County was hit hardest by the rain. The most rain fell on Baring, where 8.73 inches was reported, according to Todd Lericos, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge saw 7.72 inches and Robbinston and Pembroke each received more than 6 inches of precipitation.

Despite those numbers, the only daily record for rainfall that was broken Monday in Maine was in Caribou where 2.25 inches of precipitation was recorded. The previous record for Dec. 13 was 1.06 inches of rain in 1972, according to the National Weather Service.

The Washington County Regional Communication Center reported Tuesday afternoon that some roads remained closed due to damage from the heavy rains on Monday. Route 192, a major connector between Machias and Route 9 in Wesley, remained closed on Tuesday. South Meadow Road in Perry also was closed.

Crews were able to repair a washout on South Street in Calais more quickly than anticipated, the communication center reported. A 4-foot culvert had collapsed and damaged much of the street Monday but the street was open to traffic again Tuesday.

Although there are other areas where washouts will need to be repaired, dispatchers said that most roads were open to traffic.

There were widespread reports of trees and lines down throughout Hancock County, some of which forced temporary road closures. On Tuesday, Hancock County Regional Communication Center dispatchers indicated that there were no major lingering problems from the storm and no reports of roads closed in that county.

In Piscataquis County, the most rain, 4.55 inches, was recorded in Blanchard. Wellington saw 4.10 inches and Shirley received 3.98 inches.

The most rain in Aroostook County was recorded in Orient, which saw 4.05 inches. Van Buren saw 3.99 inches, and Macwahoc picked up 3.60 inches. Only 2 inches of rain fell in Island Falls, but when combined with the melting snow, it was enough to cause the Mattawamkeag River to overflow, flooding local roadways and forcing residents out of their homes. No injuries were reported.

Lesser amounts fell in Penobscot County, ranging from 2.24 inches of rainfall reported in Lincoln and 3.99 inches in Dixmont.

Hancock County also picked up significant rainfall during the storm. The town of Deer Isle saw 5 inches of rain by the time the storm moved out of the region, and Ellsworth saw 4.35 inches. Acadia National Park received 3.71 inches of rain.

According to the Ellsworth Police Department, Black Bear Hydro, which operates a hydroelectric dam at Graham Lake, was releasing water from the lake late Tuesday afternoon because of the heavy rains on Monday. Police said part of Shore Road was to be closed to traffic as the Union River was expected to crest its bank be-cause of the release.

BDN writer Rich Hewitt contributed to this report.

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