Spring Is On The Way


April 9, 2015


Spring Is On The Way

The Maine River Flow Advisory Commission hosted a conference call today to review current hydrologic conditions. This was a follow-up to last week’s conference call.

Rainfall is the major driver of flooding in Maine. However, snowpack, frozen ground and river ice, combined with ongoing below normal temperatures, have created additional risk factors for this time of year.

Snow Survey

The Maine Cooperative Snow Survey measured the snowpack at 72 sites this week. Snowpack depth and water equivalent values remain high for this time of year. Water content remains at historically high levels in eastern and coastal Maine.

Snow densities (the relative amount of water in the snow) continue to increase in eastern and coastal Maine. The snow densities in northern Maine remain normal due to below normal temperatures.

Snow surveys will be conducted weekly until all the snow is gone.

Maine Cooperative Snow Survey maps and data: * Maine Cooperative Snow Survey maps and data

Stream Flow and Ice Conditions

Stream flows are normal for this time of year. Rivers and streams are starting to increase as snowmelt begins. This "turn" in stream flow levels has been delayed due to below normal temperatures. Gradually increasing stream flows in the spring are a major factor in eroding ice cover gradually.

Ice jamming remains a concern in the mountains, highlands and northern areas as rivers and tributaries still are carrying a significant ice cover. Ice thickness, particularly in northern Maine has remained constant in the last two weeks and the ice is both thick and strong. If the ice begins to move, the strength and size of the ice chunks could essentially build a dam within minutes, backing up water behind it.

The US Coast Guard has successfully completed ice breaking on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers for this season.

Weather Outlook

According to the National Weather Service forecast offices in Gray and Caribou, warmer temperatures are expected next week. River levels are expected to increase over the next 7 days due to snow melt.

Flood Potential

Flood potential due to the warmer weather will increase in the highlands and mountains over the next week. The probability for major rainstorms and warm temperatures increase as spring progresses.

The River Flow Advisory Commission will convene again next week to assess conditions across the State. The National Weather Service Forecast offices in Gray and Caribou issue Flood Potential Statements every two weeks during the spring.

For more information: