Jackie Brown, left, and Willow Neidecker take cover from the rain outside their apartment building in Auburn on Thursday. Brown and Neidecker live in the Auburn Esplanade at Great Falls Plaza. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Mixed bag? You bet.

Kingfield Road Commissioner Brian Collins clears a West Kingfield Road storm drain Thursday. Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett said the drain frequently floods during heavy rains. There were no other major flooding issues reported in Kingfield, Targett said. (Franklin Journal photo by Dee Menear)

Thursday started with fog and warmth, but by the middle of the day it was raining — and raining hard — just about everywhere.

In some parts of Androscoggin County, an inch and a half had been recorded by the supper hour. A full 2 inches were expected in some areas before the rain began to taper.

Coming up next, weather forecasters warned, it will all turn to ice as temperatures are expected to drop overnight and into Friday morning.

Throughout the day Thursday, streets were reported flooded in some locations and storm drains clogged. Scattered car crashes were reported, due mostly, police said, to slick roads and poor visibility.

In Auburn, a section of North River Road, from Center to Cross Street, was closed to traffic because of flooding. A stretch of Route 136, near the turnpike overpass, was said to be covered with water shortly before 7 p.m.

In Lewiston and Auburn, fire crews responded to one call after another of flooded garages, basements and ground-floor apartments.

Jeremy Cormier grabs three buckets of sand at the Auburn Public Services sand shed on Thursday. Cormier said he will need the sand for his driveway when the temperatures drop over the next two days. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

In Oxford County, a sheriff’s dispatcher said late Thursday afternoon that things had been mostly calm in spite of a day of wind and rain. However, later in the night, highway officials were closing down a section of Route 232 between Bethel and Woodstock because of flooded roads.

The Maine Department of Transportation announced around 8:30 p.m. that Heald Bridge on Redding Road in Sumner would be closed because of high water.

Superintendents of RSU 10, which includes Rumford, Mexico and five other towns, and RSU 56, comprising the towns of Dixfield, Canton, Carthage and Peru, at first called for a two-hour delay to the start of school. Hours later, the superintendents changed their decision to a canceled school day.

Just after dark, state police reported that driving conditions remained hazardous on the turnpike.

“Road conditions continue to be of concern,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post. “Slush, ice and now standing pools of water are proving to be a challenge for the motoring public. Slow down and drive for the conditions. If you go cruising into one of these pools of water that are beginning to resemble Sebago Lake, you just may find yourself skipping over the ocean — like a stone.”

In Livermore Falls, longtime National Weather Service observer Harold Souther said 1.48 inches of rain had fallen by 6 p.m. and 18 inches of snow had been reduced to 16.

Ducks sip from puddles in the Walmart parking lot in Auburn on Thursday during a day of driving rain. (Corey LaFlamme photo)

Things were similar in Franklin County, where National Weather Service observer Dennis Pike said 0.69 inches of rain had been recorded in Farmington by 4 p.m.

“It’s not as much as they said, but it’s still coming down pretty steady,” he said.

“The road crew went around yesterday to push back snowbanks and clear what storm drains they could,” Phillips Town Manager Maureen Haley said. “Despite yesterday’s work, our crew has been out there all day dealing with blocked drains and street flooding.”

Kingfield Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett said one of the two Highway Department sand trucks broke down and took several hours to repair.

“As a result, we only had one truck out sanding the roads this morning,” she said.

Initially, a two-hour delay was announced for School Administrative District 58 in the Kingfield area, but by 8 a.m. school was canceled. The school board meeting scheduled for Thursday night was postponed to Thursday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 p.m. at Kingfield Elementary School.

Classes in Regional School Unit 9, headquartered in Farmington, were canceled.

Other than a two-hour delay, it was business as usual for Flagstaff Regional School Unit in Eustis.

There were minor issues with water staying on the roads, said Kyle Ellis, a supervisor at the Franklin County Regional Communications Center in Farmington.

There were no major accidents, just some vehicles sliding off roads and some minor property-damage crashes in some areas, he said.

In Chesterville, Town Clerk Pamela Griswold said she was told there were two places where roads were flooded Thursday afternoon.

Several vehicles slid off Route 133 in Jay, but people were able to either get their vehicles out by themselves or to get someone to pull them out, Jay police said Thursday morning.

There were no reported power outages at 4:30 p.m. listed in Franklin County on Central Maine Power Co.’s website. Earlier in the day, 54 customers were listed to be without power in Chesterville at about 1 p.m., but it was resolved quickly.

By 7 p.m. Thursday, it was still 50 degrees or close to it in most areas. However, the air was expected to turn colder later in the evening and everything that was soaked during the all-day rain will likely turn to ice.

Gisel Perry of Auburn walks along the Riverwalk in Auburn in Thursday’s fog. She said she was enjoying how beautiful the fog made the city look while gathering material for her blog, “The Maine Chica.” (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)


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