Parts of Dexter evacuated, flood warnings remain up in northern Maine

Posted April 17, 2014, at 10:58 a.m.
The speed limit sign along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield lies on its side as curious motorists drive the street on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River.
The speed limit sign along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield lies on its side as curious motorists drive the street on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Buy Photo
The culvert was removed after it was washed out by flood on Lincoln Street in Dexter Thursday.
Gabor Degre | BDN
The culvert was removed after it was washed out by flood on Lincoln Street in Dexter Thursday. Buy Photo
The culvert was removed after it was washed out by flooding on Lincoln Street in Dexter Thursday.
The culvert was removed after it was washed out by flooding on Lincoln Street in Dexter Thursday. Buy Photo
Motorists cruise Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Motorists cruise Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Buy Photo
Brian Bouchard takes a photo of co-worker Kevin Tompkins along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The two were looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Tompkins said he wanted the picture to show his kids.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Brian Bouchard takes a photo of co-worker Kevin Tompkins along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The two were looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Tompkins said he wanted the picture to show his kids. Buy Photo
A motorist cruises Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River.
Kevin Bennett|BDN
A motorist cruises Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Buy Photo
Bob Palm, left, and Stephen Lord inspect the giant ice floes along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The ice floes had been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River.
Keivn Bennett | BDN
Bob Palm, left, and Stephen Lord inspect the giant ice floes along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The ice floes had been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Buy Photo
Erin Waskovich takes a picture of her sons, Duke and Wyatt, as they sit on the ice along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The three were looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostok River. &quotWho needs a jungle gym when you have these," Waskovich said as her children climbed the ice.
Kevin Bennett|BDN
Erin Waskovich takes a picture of her sons, Duke and Wyatt, as they sit on the ice along Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. The three were looking at giant ice floes that have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostok River. "Who needs a jungle gym when you have these," Waskovich said as her children climbed the ice. Buy Photo
A postal worker retreats to her truck after delivering mail to an ice-bound mailbox on Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. Giant ice floes have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River.
Kevin Bennett|BDN
A postal worker retreats to her truck after delivering mail to an ice-bound mailbox on Riverside Avenue in Fort Fairfield on Thursday. Giant ice floes have been cleared from the road after they overflowed the banks of the Aroostook River. Buy Photo
An ice jam formed on the St. John River between St. Francis and St. John Plantation late Wednesday and remained in place Thursday morning.
Julia Bayly | BDN
An ice jam formed on the St. John River between St. Francis and St. John Plantation late Wednesday and remained in place Thursday morning. Buy Photo

DEXTER, Maine — People are being evacuated from homes and buildings in parts of Dexter Thursday after the east branch of the Sebasticook River spilled over its banks, according to the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Caribou.

A flood warning has been issued in the Dexter area until 5 p.m., according to the weather service. The Lincoln Street bridge is closed, with water running over the road. Evacuations are underway on Lincoln, Water and Liberty streets.

Conditions are easing on some northern Maine waterways, but the weather service has extended its flood warning for Aroostook County where some small streams or rivers could overspill their banks on Thursday.

At 11:25 a.m. MEMA issued an alert that flood waters were washing over Route 161 in St. Francis because of a 3-4-mile long ice jam in the St. John River.

According to a report issued by the weather service Thursday morning, rivers and streams across Aroostook County are at high levels and ice jams have been reported on the Aroostook River in Masardis and in the St. John River between St. John Plantation and St. Francis.

The ice jam on the Aroostook River in Fort Fairfield has released and water levels have dropped.

Floods are still a possibility in northern Maine until all the ice has cleared from the rivers and officials warn residents and motorists to be cautious around rising waters.

A Caswell man was killed Tuesday after being swept downstream when he fell into an open culvert hidden by floodwaters on the Oliver Road.

Paul Oliver had just moved his truck across the dirt road and was on his way home on foot when the accident occurred. Wardens recovered his body Wednesday morning about 20 yards downstream from that culvert.

In western Maine the weather service office in Gray reports the Androscoggin River has crested and dropped below flood stage at Rumford and remains at 15.3 feet, two feet above flood stage, in Auburn where it is expected to drop later today, according to Tom Hawley, weather service hydrologist Thursday morning.

The Kennebec River is above flood stage in Augusta and North Sydney and expected to drop sometime Friday, Hawley said.

“The cold weather last night really helped slow things down,” he said. “And it’s really going to be nice the next couple days to melt the snow.”

A flood warning was issued for the Penobscot River near West Enfield.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the 50s during the day and drop down below freezing at night, Hawley said, with no major precipitation events expected over the next week.

Numerous roads are closed around the state due to rising waters or runoff from rapidly melting snow. The Maine Department of Transportation’s website contains up-to-date information on those road closures at http://www.511.maine.gov/main.jsf.

The Aroostook Medical Center has teamed up with LifeFlight of Maine to assist as needed if residents need medical transport out of flood areas cut off due to road closures. The hospital took this step after local flooding caused road and bridge closures that isolated the east side of Fort Fairfield as well as the Washburn community, according to Daryl Boucher, director of emergency services and critical care at TAMC.

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