Mainers endured a one-two punch of morning floods and evening ice slicks over the weekend as temperatures plunged quickly from highs in the 40s and 50s to below freezing across the state.

Wild weather caused flooding on roadways and in basements Saturday morning as a two-day thaw ended and temperatures started falling back into the deep-freeze zone. By late afternoon, temperatures had dipped into the 20s across the state, causing slick conditions on many roadways and sidewalks.

Potentially dangerous icy conditions continued overnight Saturday, with the possibility of additional flooding along Maine rivers from a combination of rainfall, melted snow and ice jams.

Front Street in downtown Augusta was closed Saturday afternoon and remained closed Sunday morning because of flooding, and other areas in the city and Hallowell were under icy water.

The see-saw weather pattern created ice dams in the Kennebec River, flooding low-lying areas along the riverside in Maine’s capital city. The downpours also caused flooding in urban areas, such as Waterville, where plugged storm drains led to sometimes-severe flooding on city streets that damaged some automobiles.

The Augusta Police Department posted photographs to its Facebook page Sunday taken overnight of large blocks of ice in the Kennebec River and water nearly submerging an unoccupied SUV parked near a building. The SUV’s lights were on because the rising water caused them to illuminate.



In Waterville, several vehicles were swamped Saturday after a rainstorm caused unexpected flooding in parts of the city and elsewhere.

The area around Drummond Avenue, just off College Avenue, was hit the worst after unseasonably warm weather had melted snow piles and rain had caused heavy flooding.

Mike Palmer, owner of Ace Tire and Service on Drummond Avenue, said the Fire Department called him about 6:45 a.m. Saturday to tell him his business was basically submerged. By 1 p.m., virtually all of the water was gone, but he said at least 10 of the 20 cars he has at the business were damaged and maybe ruined.

“It was pretty bad,” he said. “There was a couple of a feet of water.”

He said the water there was so high that benches in a park across the street were almost covered.


Palmer and his crew were still working to get the water out of the business Saturday afternoon, and he said the basement still had a lot of water in it. He said the drains on the street were clogged, so they had to work to free those to drain the water on the street. Thankfully, he said, the affected vehicles on the property were all part of his sales inventory, not customers’ cars. More cars are parked behind the business.

Elsewhere in Waterville, the Fire Department dealt with about 10 flooded basements across the city, said Capt. John Gromek. He said that in most cases, those affected were dealing with a foot or less of water, but some had as much as three or four feet.

“That’s all we’ve been doing is chasing flooded basements,” he said.

Gromek said part of Trafton Road, in the southern end of the city, was shut down earlier in the day because of flooding. He said the department also assumes that many more cases of flooded basements exist but simply hadn’t been reported yet. He advised residents to make sure they have pumps ready to get water out of their basements, but also cautioned against going into the water if power lines are present.

“It’s not regular,” Gromek said of this type of flooding in January. “It takes a rainstorm like this.”

Hallowell Fire Chief Jim Owens said firefighters pumped out a couple of flooded basements in that city Saturday, and there was minor flooding in a parking lot on Litchfield Road near Burt’s Security.



While temperatures still hovered near 50 degrees along the coast by mid-morning, the mercury dropped to near freezing in the Portland area by early Saturday afternoon.

The fog overnight from the thaw was a factor in a fatal car crash in the York County town of Lebanon, according to Maine State Police. No other serious accidents were reported in other parts of the state.

Some homeowners across Penobscot, Waldo and Hancock counties reported flooded basements, while Somerset, Washington and Hancock counties saw flooding on roads due to melting snow and clogged storm drains.

About 2,500 homes and businesses, mostly in Hancock County, that are customers of Emera Maine were without power early Saturday, The Associated Press reported. By noon, that number had dropped to about 1,300 customers, and it was down to 63 by 8 p.m.

Just before 8 p.m. Saturday, there were 1,612 Central Maine Power Co. customers without power, 1,558 of them in Oxford County.



State police warned motorists Saturday morning that roads throughout Aroostook County were covered with ice and snow and therefore treacherous. Maine Department of Transportation crews were out clearing and treating roadways, but police urged motorists to use caution and plan for slow traveling.

Cannon, the meteorologist, said “a very steep, strong cold front” brought the rapid drop in temperatures Saturday. The low overnight in Portland was expected to be 11 degrees – 39 degrees colder than Saturday’s high of 50 degrees.

The weather service was forecasting a high of 21 degrees Sunday, followed by a high of 19 degrees Monday. A minor accumulation of snow is expected at midweek, Cannon said.

“This is a shot of cold air,” he said, “but not the brutal arctic air we had last week.”

Staff writers J. Craig Anderson of the Maine Sunday Telegram, Colin Ellis of the Morning Sentinel and Jason Pafundi of the Kennebec Journal contributed to this report.

Heavy rains broke open the Kennebec River in Hallowell and Augusta on Sunday, creating ice dams and flooding in low lying areas. (Andy Molloy, Kennebec Journal)

ACE Tire and Service on Drummond Avenue in Waterville was flooded by rain water and snow melt as warm temperatures and heavy rain rolled through the state Saturday. (Michael G. Seamans, Morning Sentinel)

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