Some summers it seems like it’s raining every time you step outside.
This June, it actually is.
It has rained 20 of the past 29 days, according to the National Weather Service. As of 8 a.m. Monday, Portland had received nearly 8.4 inches of rain, making this the fifth wettest June since 1871, when the weather service began to keep records. With more rain through the day Monday and showers expected Tuesday, June 2009 could move up a step or two in the ranking.
“You might actually see a few breaks in the clouds (Tuesday),” said National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Capriola. “I wouldn’t count on it, but it could happen.”
June normally averages about 3.3 inches of rain. By July 1, Capriola said, we could have more than 9 inches.
And June’s weather hasn’t been only wet — it’s been cool and humid. June normally averages 62.9 degrees. As of Monday, this June averaged 61.1 degrees, according to the weather service. And relative humidity has been consistently high.
The soggy weather has dampened beach plans and pushed tourists inside, but it’s causing more significant — and expensive — problems for Maine’s roads.
More than 30 state roads in Franklin and Oxford counties were damaged by rain this past weekend. One of the worst came Saturday when the rain washed out the Thurston Brook bridge on South Rumford Road in Rumford and damaged about 7,000 feet of shoulder and guardrails. Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Latti said the MDOT will have to spend $500,000 to replace that one bridge. He estimated the weekend rain caused about $1 million worth of damage to the Rumford-Andover region.
“And that’s on our roads, which doesn’t take into account local roads where, just like us, budgets are already strained,” Latti said. “To come up with additional money makes it difficult.”
Depending on the amount of damage, Maine could apply to the federal government for disaster aid. If no federal grant money comes, it will be up to the MDOT and local towns to pay for the damage. For the MDOT, the money would have to come out of its maintenance budget, which pays for plowing and other road care.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency is gathering damage information from each county. It’s too early to say whether the damage has been extensive enough to bring in federal aid, but MEMA spokeswoman Lynette Miller said aid is a possibility, “especially if it doesn’t stop raining.”
And it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon. Maine’s wet-cool-humid weather pattern hasn’t changed in three weeks and it’s set to stick around a while longer.
“Until that pattern breaks down, we aren’t going to see a whole lot of change in this weather,” Capriola said. “But eventually, something’s going to give.”
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A significant portion of a field planted with tomatoes is flooded at Farmer Whiting’s in Auburn as the rain continues Monday. Buster Whiting said many of the tomatoes will not survive and the rest of the crop is in jeopardy. “The sweet corn crop is not planted yet and we are at the critical edge of the planting deadline,” he said. “The ground is too soft and wet; we are unable to get our tractors in the field. What is needed is at least four days of wind and sun to be able to start planting again.”


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