Santa delivered a Christmas Day rain storm across the state of Maine beginning Thursday evening that was expected to continue into Friday night.

Andy Pohl, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said there would be “quite a bit of rain” still to come by midnight.¬†Most of central Maine received a half inch to an inch Thursday night into Friday morning.

Wind gusts are not as ferocious as once thought. Instead of 50-plus mile per hour winds, they are supposed to gust in the 35 mph range.

“We’re just not getting as good a mixing as we initially expected,” Pohl said. “That’s something of a moving target, anyways.”

Sean Goodwin, director of Kennebec County’s Emergency Management Agency, wrote in an email release that the Kennebec River was expected to rise to at least 15.5 feet by 2 p.m. Saturday, which would also flood Front Street in Hallowell through Sunday. Waterfront Park in Augusta would also be flooded through Sunday afternoon. Temperatures hovered in the mid to high 40s, adding to the snow melt.

Officials worried about flooding prior to the storm. The National Weather Service issued a “Flood Warning” for portions of Maine from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. The Waterville Fire Department advised residents who live near the Kennebec River to park away from the shoreline. Augusta officials were concerned about potential flooding from the Kennebec River onto Front Street, so public works closed parking beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s always a risk, and with the high winds there’s potential for wires down and we’ve had a few of them,” Augusta Fire Chief Scott Dunbar said. “As of right now, it’s been pretty calm.”

Reports of downed trees and power lines picked up during the afternoon. The Vassalboro Fire Department reported Bog Road, approximately half a mile from Route 201, was blocked due to a downed tree.

“Obviously the road’s blocked off right now because we can’t have traffic go through there, but other than that, knock on wood, things have been pretty quiet,” Vassalboro Fire Chief Walker Thompson said. “I’m sure as time goes on and the wind blows, I’m sure we’ll get a couple more.”

A downed tree took some power lines with it on the Neck Road in China. Central Maine Power reported some power outages with customers in Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin Counties. Outages in the latter were minimal, but there were approximately 4,500 outages in Kennebec County by 1:30 p.m., including 2,668 of Waterville’s 8,301 CMP customers.

“We’re planning for it to end up with tree and wire issues with the wind, what it’s just wait and see, “Waterville Fire Battalion Chief John Gromek said.

“The wind’s going to die down over night,” Goodwin said. “That makes it easier for power restoration for some people.”¬†

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