Homes flooded, sewers backed up and streets were impassable Thursday afternoon when a hard rain fell across the region.
Starting at about 4 p.m., fire and police crews were sent scrambling to a variety of rain-related calls across the area.
One of the busiest sections of Center Street in Auburn flooded, causing traffic to slow to a crawl as motorists tried to drive out of the rising water.
Donald Peterson of Auburn was driving his Chevrolet 2500 HD pickup when he came upon a flooded section at West Dartmouth and Center streets.
“I had to drive through it,” he said. “I’m a crazy redneck. Water came right up over the roof. There’s got to be 2, 2½ feet of it out there.”
Raymond Zawisza of Lewiston was not so lucky. When he tried to drive through the water, his car stalled and oil began to leak from its underside.
“That’s a lot of water,” he said when it was over. “It came really fast.”
Police blocked off a section of Center Street as traffic backed up on both sides of the problem area in front of Krispy Kreme. Police, fire and Public Works crews were sent to a variety of areas to handle a range of problems.
Several homeowners reported water rushing into basements and sewers that were backing up. Electrical issues were reported as the water rose higher.
In Lewiston, a manhole cover was reportedly dislodged by rising waters and a section of Bartlett Street flooded. Several sections of Lisbon Street were underwater, as was a stretch of Main Street, under the train trestle near Marden’s, where a couple of cars had stalled when drivers tried to get through the flooded area.
Also hard-hit in Lewiston: Sylvan Avenue, where there was so much over the road, one man was able to row a kayak down the middle of it.
“I’ve lived on Sylvan Ave in Lewiston for more than 40 years, and I’ve never seen the street totally under water,” Pauline Caron Douglas wrote on her Facebook page.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for the Lewiston, Auburn and Sabattus areas. By that time, the rain had mostly stopped and the water began to recede from the streets.
Raymond Zawisza of Lewiston climbs out of his Chevrolet Cobalt that stalled Thursday afternoon when he tried to drive through the flooded intersection at Center and Dartmouth streets in Auburn. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Marsha Bennett, transit coordinator for Lewiston-Auburn’s citylink bus system, pushes water Thursday afternoon out of the bus station at the corner of Oak and Bates streets in Lewiston. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Jessica Morgan of Lewiston sloshes down Maple Street in Lewiston as she makes her way to work Thursday afternoon during a downpour that flooded streets, businesses and houses throughout the area. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Nancy Herrick removed her shoes Thursday afternoon before leaving work at Opportunity Enterprises on Center Street in Auburn. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Raymond Zawisza of Lewiston looks out the window Thursday afternoon of his Chevrolet Cobalt that stalled when he tried to drive through the flooded intersection at Center and Dartmouth streets in Auburn. Donald Peterson of Auburn offered to take a look at Zawisza’s motor troubles. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)