A flood warning for an overflowing portion of the Kennebec River near Augusta is predicted to remain in effect until Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
After two days of destructive flooding in downtown Augusta and Hallowell, the water is expected to recede tonight to below the river’s flood stage, which is 12 feet, according to Eric Schwibs of the weather service in Gray. As of Tuesday morning, the water level was still 14 inches above flood stage, at 13.2 feet, he said.
“Do not drive through flooded areas, it is impossible to know if the road is safe for travel. Turn around, don’t drown!” the weather service stated in its warning.
Augusta police cautioned commuters, residents and business owners to heed the weather service’s warning, noting that downtown Front Street will remain closed “until further notice.”
Another flood warning for a portion of the Penobscot River near Eddington has been canceled.
Ice jams along the Kennebec caused flooding in the Augusta region Sunday, after Friday’s heavy rains raised the river’s water level, forcing water to spill over the ice that acted as “natural dams,” Schwibs said.
It takes several days for the rainwater to course downriver, but by Tuesday night, that influx is expected to flow through the region and the floods should abate, he said.
“Since we’re not getting any [more] rain, [the water] will continue to recede. That’s the good news,” Schwibs said.
On Sunday, the flood submerged cars parked off Water Street in Hallowell, seeming to swallow them whole with some of their tops just peeking above the water’s surface. In Augusta, water flowed into businesses along Front Street.
The water remained 18 inches above the river’s flood stage Monday, when crews used a bucket loader to break up ice along the river and tried to extricate about a dozen cars frozen in place after the icy flood, according to Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME.
Flooding is common along the Kennebec, which is prone to ice jams, Schwibs said.
More thawing temperatures are predicted next week, which “could cause some issues” and has the weather service on watch for additional flood warnings, he said.
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