LEWISTON — It was bound to happen.
After days of constant rain, a slow moving thunderstorm Thursday night caused problems in all varieties as a steady downpour settled over the area and stayed there.
It was particularly bad in Lewiston.
“We’ve got flooded streets, roads washed out and alarms going off like crazy,” said Lewiston police Sgt. Danny LaChance. “We’ve got reports of power out, basements flooding and a manhole completely off.”
That all happened starting at about 9:15 p.m. Add to it vehicles stuck in flooded intersections, cars and trucks stalled after barrelling through giant puddles and reports of flooding just about everywhere.
“We’ve had a lot of rain come all at once,” LaChance said.
As drains backed up and rainwater spilled into the streets, police went scrambling to several areas of the city. On Lisbon Street, several intersections were flooded, most noticeably at East Avenue and the intersections following into downtown.
At the bottom of Bartlett Street hill, near Adams Avenue, a foot of water covered the roadway. Police and public works crews quickly went out and threw up barricades, steering traffic around the high water.
On Nichols Street, one resident reported 8 inches in the basement. Fire crews were sent over.
Similar problems were reported around the city, on Leavitt Avenue, Morris Avenue, Adams, White, Willow and Charles streets. By 10 p.m., police, fire and public works crews were still moving from one scene of wet chaos to another.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” LaChance said.
At one point during the rush of emergency calls, a car was reported washing down the street in a stream of rainwater, possibly with someone inside. That report turned out to be bogus. But as soon as police cleared that scene, there was a report of a roof collapse somewhere else in the city.
A car was stuck in deep water on the roadway on Main Street, beneath the train trestle near Marden’s. Police were standing by and steering traffic around the stalled vehicle.
Auburn at first seemed to be spared the type of rain-related problems experienced in its sister city.
“We haven’t had many problems at all,” Auburn police Lt. Tim Cougle said at about 9:55 p.m. “A few reports of storm basins overflowing, things like that.”
Almost as soon as he said it, there came a report of a basement flooded on Oak Street and an officer radioed in that water drains were starting to back up in various parts of the city.
North River Road in Auburn was reported washed over at about 10 p.m. The police radio in Auburn started to crackle with the kinds of reports that haunted Lewiston an hour before.
“Maybe Auburn takes longer to flood than Lewiston,” Cougle said at about 10:05 p.m.
The idea isn’t that farfetched. According to David Glenn, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, Lewiston and Auburn sort of got picked on.
“There’s a cluster that just settled right over your area,” Glenn said. “The motion of the system just trained over that one area.”
The same thing happened to Freeport earlier in the night, Glenn said. There, nearly an inch of rain fell in about an hour. Glenn predicted the same amount would be measured by Friday morning in the Twin Cities.


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