June 25, 2018
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Bangor streets flood with Saturday morning rain, Washington County heaviest hit

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Heavy rains on Saturday morning flooded many streets in the city and the water got so deep it stranded a few drivers and shut down streets, Bangor police Sgt. Ed Potter said. While crews worked to clear the water, some residents went out to play.

“A bunch of streets are flooded and one maintenance man is out with the fire department putting up blockades,” Potter said. “I don’t know if the system is overwhelmed or if the drains are plugged.”

While Bangor was drenched by 2.02 inches, Washington County saw nearly double the amount, Tony Mignone, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, said Sunday.

“Four inches fell in Machias and other parts of Washington County,” he said. “That was the main area that got heavy amounts of rain over a 24-hour period. Bangor didn’t receive nearly as much.”

The amount may have been less, but the torrential downpour that started at about 11 a.m. in Bangor dropped 1.41 inches in a short amount of time, according to the National Weather Service website, which tracks weather conditions at Bangor International Airport. The Queen City also had an earlier spout of heavy rain just before 8 a.m. Saturday when 0.40 inches fell.

At least two drivers attempting to get onto Interstate 395 from Main Street flooded their vehicles just before 11 a.m., folks were stranded inside their cars on Stillwater Avenue, by Leadbetters, and others on Deer Isle Road stalled but were pushed out of the roadway by neighbors, a woman said.

The rain trapped a woman in her car after she skidded off the road near the junction of Broadway and Griffin Road, Bangor fire Lt. John Gray said Sunday.

“A car missed the road and actually went into a flooded ditch,” the lieutenant said. “We assisted a handicapped woman from the vehicle.”

There was only a small amount of water in the vehicle that wet the feet of the woman, who was not injured, he said.

Bangor firefighters also pumped out several basements, Gray said, including one on Parkview Avenue that had water above the electrical panel.

“Bangor Hydro [Electric Co.] came and unhooked the power,” Gray said. “After the rain subsided it cleared itself.”

Penobscot Regional Communications Center also took numerous flooding calls. Most of the water problems happened in two of Bangor’s neighboring communities and kept fire department personnel and public works crews busy, a dispatcher said Sunday.

“There was a whole lot in Brewer and quite a bit in Hampden,” she said. “There were six or eight [calls] in Brewer and five or six in Hampden.”

Water was flowing pretty fast in some areas, but no roads were closed, she said.

Back in Bangor, a boy could be seen playing in an inflatable inner tube on Second Street, and a man had an inflatable canoe. Crystal Graves of Bald Mountain Drive is one who decided to go out into the rain to have some fun.

“I’ve blown up my rubber raft and we’re going to go paddle in it,” she said, Saturday adding her neighbor was going with her. “Kids are coming in their swimming suits and people are coming down with their boogie boards.”

Sanford Street flooded at its junction with Cedar Street and Travis Smith went out to warn a neighbor to move his car.

“He said the seals would block the water. I looked in his window and said, ‘Dude, there is this [indicating half a foot] much water in your car,’” he said.

After his neighbor’s car was moved, Smith made his way back to his house.

“You just missed me. I was out there swimming,” he joked.

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