Maine River Flow Advisory Commission 2024 Annual Meeting

Contact:  Vanessa Corson

Cell: (207) 592-6201



Maine River Flow Advisory Commission 2024 Annual Meeting Discusses Ice Conditions and Flood Risk

AUGUSTA, MAINE —The State’s River Flow Advisory Commission met virtually on Thursday, March 7 to discuss ice conditions and flood risk across the state. Maine is at below-normal risk for spring flooding due to the lack of snow this winter. The National Weather Service in Gray and Caribou report snowfall is 2-feet below normal this time of year. It was a record wet first half of winter due to heavy rain events as well as snow inland during January, coupled with an extremely dry February with virtually no snow.

Spring melt season is already underway across most of the state with no expected snowpack gain from the foothills to the coast of Maine. A few late winter/early spring snowstorms could still occur, but with increasing temperatures, snowpack gain is extremely unlikely outside of the Western Mountains, North Woods, and Aroostook County. The March outlook favors the potential for warmer than normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.

“It’s been a banner year for groundwater in the State of Maine,” said Nicholas Stasulis, Data Section Chief at the U.S. Geological Survey, and co-chair of the River Flow Advisory Commission. “Streamflows and groundwater levels are above normal and even record high in some areas.”

Floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster. According to Sue Baker, State Coordinator of the Floodplain Management Program, home and business insurance does not cover flooding that originates outside the structure. “Anyone looking to purchase property should be aware of whether it’s in a mapped flood hazard area,” said Baker. She recommends consulting an insurance agent about your property, regardless of whether you own or rent.

The US Coast Guard noted it has been a light ice season. There are no current known ice jams of concern across the state of Maine with the only remaining ice jam potential on the Aroostook and St John Rivers. The Coast Guard has mainly worked this season to keep the Penobscot River clear as 90% of the state’s fuel oil arrives by cargo ship. Icebreaking season ends March 31, 2024.

Maine’s River Flow Advisory Commission consists of members from the US Geological Survey, Maine Geological Survey, Department of Environmental Protection, National Weather Service in Gray and Caribou, US Coast Guard, University of Maine, Maine Emergency Management Agency, Brookfield Renewable, the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program, and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry/Floodplain Management Program. The Commission was originally formed after the spring floods of 1983 to improve the exchange of hydrologic information collected by the members, to review the data, and to provide information to emergency action agencies and the public. It was created in statute by the Legislature in 1997.

The River Flow Advisory Commission is not expected to meet again unless conditions warrant. The report is available on MEMA’s website or can be obtained by calling MEMA at (207) 624-4400.