May 21, 2018
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High tide passes without incident, though flood watch still in effect in Bangor

By Jamison Cocklin, Special to the BDN

BANGOR, Maine — Public safety officials were keeping a close eye on the Kenduskeag Stream as high tide approached on Friday.

The Bangor area was expected to receive around 1.2 inches of total rainfall over a 36-hour period, from midnight Thursday to early Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou. The rainfall, combined with snow melt caused by warmer temperatures, means conditions have been rife for flooding in recent days.

As a result, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the Penobscot River basin on Thursday, which is in effect until 11 a.m. Saturday. This prompted Bangor’s public safety officials to barricade the Kenduskeag Plaza downtown, preventing residents from parking or driving in the area adjacent to the stream.

But shortly after high tide at around 4 p.m., the Bangor fire chief and city engineer determined there no longer was a threat to the area and lifted the barricades, according to a press release from the Bangor Police Department.

Even so, large chunks of ice could be seen edging upward, and the water level was precariously even with the shoreline at the mouth of the stream near Sea Dog Brewing Co. on Front Street.

The Penobscot Federal Credit Union, which is in close proximity to the Kenduskeag, was forced to close for the day as a result of the plaza being barricaded. It was expected to reopen once the threat of flooding had passed, according to a notice on its front doors.

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At the point where the stream runs through a concrete basin downtown, it was around 4 feet from the flood level.

Streams and smaller rivers are of most concern, according to Lynette Miller, a spokeswoman with the Maine Emergency Management Agency, who spoke with the Bangor Daily News last weekend on the potential for flooding in the area.

“The concern is ice melting and bunching up in chunks anywhere there’s a bend in a river or stream — it’s possible for water to back up and create flooding,” said Rich Norton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou.

Norton added that concerns over flooding should abate by the end of the weekend as the storm system responsible for all the rainfall is expected to pass by then.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, there were no reports of flooding anywhere in the city, according to Capt. Matthew Cosello of the Bangor Fire Department.

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