You might want to include a few extra items on your checklist for this year’s Fourth of July party — a poncho, umbrella, maybe an ark or two.

You guessed it. More rain is on the way for Maine this week, coming on the heels of weekend downpours that wreaked havoc on roads in Oxford and Franklin counties.

“It’s a blocking pattern above us. Unfortunately, we’re on the bad weather end of it,” said George Wiseman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

Wiseman delivered the bad news that yet another round of bad weather is on its way to Vacationland, bringing with it more rain, thunderstorms and low temperatures. The unseasonal summer weather isn’t helping the state’s tourism industry as it heads into the second month of its biggest season.

George Welch, owner of Mountain View Campground in Dixfield, said that while the rain isn’t damaging his campsites, it is dampening his business.

“It’s slow, but some people are still coming,” Welch said. “No one wants to camp in the rain. We’ll take it as it comes I guess.”

Welch said this summer and last summer were two of the wettest starts to the season that he could remember in his 15 years owning the family campground. He said this year seems to have more heavy rains, but thankfully only three or four of the campground’s dozens of sites were affected by the bad weather.

While Welch’s campsites may be safe from Mother Nature, roads across Franklin and Oxford counties took major hits Saturday as brooks and creeks suddenly raged with rapids following downpours that brought upwards of more than an inch of rain per hour in some areas. Two people escaped injury Saturday night after their pickup truck fell into a hole where South Rumford Road used to be after a large section of the roadway gave way. 

A dispatcher with the Rumford Police Department said that the accident occurred at around 9:14 p.m. Sgt. James Bernard was on scene at the time of the accident because he was checking road conditions following reports of a flash flood that washed out a bridge over Thurston Brook, a short distance away. Bernard was able to provide assistance to the driver and passenger of the 2009 pickup that fell front-end first into the collapsed section of road.

The vehicle was driven by Margaret Thornton, 39, of Hanover. Both she and her passenger, Ivan Churchill, of Rumford, escaped before the truck was swallowed by the sinkhole. Patrolman Scott Mills with the Rumford Police said that Rumford Road is impassable and remains closed at this time.

Officials across the region are keeping one eye on the sky and the other on the roads with more rains expected this week. While most roads affected by the weekend downpours in Franklin County reopened Sunday, several in Oxford County remained closed or limited to one lane.


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