RUMFORD – People living in low-lying areas along the Androscoggin River from Gilead to Auburn should expect more minor flooding into Thursday.

Some spots along Route 2 could go under water because thousands of gallons were being released Wednesday from the Shelburne Dam in Shelburne, N.H., according to Oxford County Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Parker.

At 10:24 a.m. Wednesday, the dam, located about 17 miles east of Bethel on Route 2, went to a Condition 3 alert.

That means instead of releasing 10,000 cubic feet per second – about 75,000 gallons – like it was doing since Tuesday, 15,000 cfs were being released, Parker said by phone from Paris.

“We’re going to definitely notice the water getting closer to the top of the road,” he said. “It might push it over Route 2 in a couple of places. This will cause the river to go up a foot, maybe a foot and a half.”

The Shelburne Dam flow alerts were built into Oxford County’s regional dispatch system three years ago to give downstream responders reaction time to rising water.

Earlier, the dam released 10,000 cfs from within its Androscoggin River Reservoir for 24 hours to make room for Tuesday’s heavy rains and melting snow at higher elevations. Shelburne is at the northern end of the Mount Washington Valley.

“The rivers are full. And, because the Androscoggin is in New Hampshire, it has a lot of tributaries coming down from the mountains, more so than here because the mountains there are at much higher elevation. But, we should be fine,” Parker said.

The much larger Pennacook Falls Dam on the Androscoggin at Rumford increased its flow to 25,000 cfs in response to Shelburne’s release, Parker said. The river on Wednesday morning had started to slowly recede.

With the higher release Wednesday, it will have another big dump to flush downstream.


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