NORWAY — An “uncommon” set of weather conditions put maintenance crews back to work Monday, cleaning up after unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rain caused minor flooding across Oxford Hills. 

On Monday afternoon, local and state officials warned drivers to reduce overnight and early-morning travel to a minimum, as temperatures plunged from a high of more than 40 degrees to lows in the single digits, creating dangerous icy conditions on wet roads.

“We’ve gone from frigid cold, to rain and warmth, right back to frigid cold again, making for some really unpredictable travel conditions,” Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said. 

The National Weather Service forecasted a low of 7 degrees Fahrenheit Monday night, and a high of 13 degrees on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to remain cold for the rest of the week. 

On Monday, Talbot said the MDOT deployed more than 375 trucks to deal with flooding and ice and was gearing up to tackle more ice overnight. 

The heavy rain and snowmelt clogged drainage ways, causing flooding and pooling, Talbot said.


“We’re desperately urging folks to be most aware of the low-lying intersections, low spots, valleys and bridges,” Talbot said. 

In Oxford, Town Manager Michael Chammings said crews had been out for most of the day Monday and were taking a break before returning to work in the evening to prep the roads for the anticipated freeze.

Although there was no serious flooding incidents, the heavy rain on top of at least two feet of snow overwhelmed the town’s stormwater system, preventing the water on the roads from draining, he said.

“The amount of water we’re getting from the meltdown, it’s impossible for the drainage to keep up with it,” Chammings said. 

In Norway, where the day’s rain and melt created huge pools of water several inches deep in downtown streets and parking lots, fire Chief Dennis Yates said the deep freeze expected Monday night would create extremely hazardous road conditions. 

“I would say don’t travel if you don’t have to,” he said. “Stay off the roads.”

State and local crews pretreated the roads overnight in advance of the freeze, but wet conditions could wash away road salt and low temperatures could reduce its effectiveness, Talbot warned.

“What we want folks to do is assume there is ice on the road,” Talbot said. “Not to have this false sense of security. Even if the road is fine tonight, you will run into some black ice in the morning.”

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