February 23, 2020
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Northern Maine flood warning lifted

FORT KENT, Maine — A flood warning issued by the National Weather Service in Caribou for northwestern Aroostook County was in effect through Sunday morning, but by afternoon the warning was lifted.

According to longtime river observer Roy Gardner of Allagash, the warning was issued in response to rapidly rising waters on the Allagash River behind an ice jam near Nine Mile Bridge.

“We’ve got some little [jams] along the river but the water is moving along fine,” Gardner said Saturday evening.

Gardner has been the official river observer for the New Brunswick Department of the Environment for close to three decades.

He said there were three smaller ice jams near the big rapids about a mile upriver from the town of Allagash, near Cross Rock and at the confluence of the Allagash and St. John rivers.

The ice jam on Big Black River broke up about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Gardner, and the jam at the confluence of the St. John and Allagash rivers broke up about 3 p.m. Sunday.

“Everything looks real good,” Gardner said Sunday afternoon. “I don’t see any problems at all.”

With no significant rain predicted until Tuesday, Gardner said he does not see any imminent threat of a flood, but added it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the river and spring thaw.

“There’s still about 5 or 6 inches of water trapped in the snow still in the woods,” he said. “There could be a lot of runoff if we get a lot of rain [and] it’s better to let people know what’s going on.”

The NWS had a flood warning in effect Sunday afternoon for east central Penobscot County. At 4:45 p.m. Sunday the Mattawamkeag River was slowly rising and was within several inches of flood stage, according to the NWS. the river was expected to reach flood stage Sunday night around Mattawamkeag, with minor flooding expected.

With rain forecast to overspread the region Monday, a flood watch was in effect for much of eastern and central Maine from Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon.

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