December 17, 2017
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Spring melt, expected rain pose risk of ice jams, flooding in parts of Maine

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Sue Underhill Kelly | BDN
Sue Underhill Kelly | BDN
Open water flows under the St. John River bridge in Allagash after the ice jam there broke up in 2015.

BANGOR, Maine — The combination of warming temperatures and anticipated rainfall has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a hazardous weather outlook statement through at least the middle of this week.

The hazardous weather outlook applies to northern and central Maine, including Aroostook, Piscataquis and Penobscot counties as well as Down East and eastern Maine.

Among the rivers being monitored are the Aroostook River, the Piscataquis River and the St. John River, Meteorologist Maureen Hastings of the weather service’s Caribou office said Sunday afternoon.

“You’re clearly seeing some sunshine today and the temperatures are going to warm up over the next couple of days,” Hastings said.

“We’ll have some chances for rain, so with all those things combined we’ll see increasing snowmelt and increased runoff that’ll make the rivers rise, which then can cause the ice to move and anytime the ice moves and it breaks up, there’s a possibility of a jam,” she said.

“We’re just keeping our eye on the rivers,” she said.

Hastings said meteorologists are monitoring the U.S. Geological Service’s gauges on Maine’s rivers and also are depending on spotters, the public, emergency managers and people who live or travel along rivers in the affected region.

“We’re anticipating that the bulk of the ice outs could be occurring in the early to middle part of this week, just given the weather conditions we’re expecting,” Hastings said.

“We are happening to see ice movement up here. There’s a little ice jam on the Aroostook right at the Caribou-Fort Fairfield line as of this morning,” she said. “There is also still an ice jam on the Piscataquis between Brownville and Milo. Neither one of those is causing any issues at this time.”

With regard to the St. John River, the weather service is receiving reports that the ice is starting to move in the Frenchville area but has not been apprised of any ice jams, she said.

Hastings advised those who live or travel along Maine rivers to pay attention to river conditions until the ice is gone.

 


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