Emergency crews across western Maine scrambled to address sinkholes, washouts and floods Monday following prolonged periods of heavy rain and strong wind gusts overnight.

Rainfall totals ranged from 3 to 5 inches across western Maine, according to the National Weather Service. Locally, the highest rainfall was recorded near Farmington and Livermore Falls.

Oxford County Emergency Management Agency Director Allyson Hill said the department has receive an alarming number of reports regarding vehicles trapped in flood waters or sinkholes. Of the 80 reports she had received by 11 a.m. Monday morning regarding the storm, at least six involved vehicles.

Sinkholes have formed on numerous roadways across the county, she said.

She emphasized that vehicles should not drive through pools of standing water.

“You really, really don’t know if the road is still there,” she said.


In Newry, rescue crews assisted passengers in two cars caught in floodwaters on Route 26 just after noon. One car had six people, according to Newry Fire Chief Alan Fleet.

Even as the rain stopped Monday, rivers and streams continued to rise.

As of 4 p.m., the Androscoggin River had risen by 8 feet in Auburn and 10 feet in Rumford, according to the National Weather Service. The river is peaking in Rumford, but is expected to continue rising by more than a foot until Tuesday afternoon, when it is projected to begin dropping.

At its peak near 10 a.m. Monday, the Swift River, which starts in southern Franklin County and empties into the Androscoggin River in Rumford in Oxford County, had risen by 8 feet. The water level has continued to drop since then.

As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency listed 37 road closures from Rangeley to Jay.

Numerous schools canceled classes or dismissed students early Monday due to the storm.


Schools in Rumford-based Regional School Unit 10 canceled classes while and Dixfield-based RSU 56 held a remote day.

South Rumford Road in Rumford was closed due to flooding, according to Fire Chief Chris Reed. A washout near the bridge on state Route 108 was minor, he said, and traffic was not stopped. Washouts and flooding in the area led to other road closures.

Students in Bethel-based Maine School Administrative District 44, Spruce Mountain school district in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls, Farmington-based RSU 9, and Philips-based MSAD 58 were dismissed early Monday due to rising flood waters and downed trees.

In some cases, flooded roads were closed Monday morning and reopened later in the day as some flood waters dropped and washouts were shored up. Other repairs will take days, if not weeks to fix.

In Bowdoin, a section of Doughty Road over East Cathance Stream was swept away after a culvert failed. In a video posted to Twitter, water could be seen surging where the road had stood.

By 5 p.m. Monday, 8,908 households across the state were without power, down from 30,000 in the morning. Outages Monday evening included 61 households in Androscoggin County, 218 in Franklin County and 153 in Oxford County.


Nearly all of western and south-central Maine was projected to remain under a flood warning until late Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Areas near the Swift River and the Saco River, which enters Maine at Fryeburg in western Oxford County, were of particular concern.

Western Maine experienced wind gusts up to 40 mph Sunday night, leading to downed trees and wires in several towns.

Rain will return to the region Tuesday and continue until Thursday.

“Unsettled conditions will be returning tomorrow, bringing additional rainfall to the area through Thursday,” The National Weather Service in Gray posted to Facebook. “After yesterday’s significant rain event, rivers are forecasted to crest tomorrow as rainwaters make their way downstream. With additional rainfall potentially coinciding with the river crests, some additional localized flooding is possible, especially in the mountains. Continue to stay on the lookout for flooded roadways through midweek.

“Numerous water rescues were needed (Monday) morning from avoidable circumstances. Remember to turn around and don’t drown if you encounter flood waters,” it advised.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.