Maine River Flow Advisory Commission Meets in Augusta
March 7, 2019
Spring Flood Threat Above Average Across the State
AUGUSTA, MAINE The State's River Flow Advisory Commission met for the first time this season today in Augusta to discuss ongoing ice conditions, snowpack, streamflow, groundwater levels, and flood risk across the state.
"The potential for flooding is well above normal and will likely last a few weeks," said Robert Lent with the Maine office of the U.S. Geological Survey. "I don't see any immediate threats, but we will need to watch conditions closely."
Temperatures are expected to be below normal for the next few days, but then the National Weather Service predicts a gradual warming, with temperatures and precipitation amounts higher than normal for the 6-10 and 8-14-day forecasts.
"Overall, it was a colder, snowier than normal winter across the state," said Tom Hawley of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Gray. "What happens in the next few weeks will be critical in determining whether we do in fact experience flooding."
"Statewide, streamflow conditions are above normal," said Nicholas Stasulis, Data Section Chief with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Groundwater levels, however, vary with some above normal, some much higher than normal and we even have some wells in Central Maine that are below normal."
The United States Coast Guard has been monitoring ice conditions across the state, and shared their plan for ice breaking missions later in March on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers to prevent ice jams which could cause flooding.
"The Commission will meet again in early April in Aroostook County due to the above normal potential for flooding," said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Suzanne Krauss. "We will continue to monitor conditions statewide. As we are analyzing current conditions and likely scenarios, we are preparing for the likelihood of flooding in Aroostook County. We encourage people to know the risks they face in their communities and to make a disaster plan."
MEMA is working closely with the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency to implement some proactive measures to prepare for flooding including:
Flood preparedness meetings in several communities
A flood exercise scheduled for March 25
A Maine Forestry Service mobile command unit in place
A Maine Warden Service airboat available, as needed.
Nestle-Waters North America has graciously donated two truckloads of its Poland Spring Brand for distribution to residents should local water sources become contaminated.
Meanwhile, those who live in flood prone areas are reminded:
It is never safe to drive down a flooded roadway, as the road may be washed out underneath and it only take as few as six inches of water to cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Take steps to protect your belongings ahead of time, including elevating electronic devices and moving vehicles out of areas that may flood.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover flood damage. Check with your insurance company to see if it makes sense to add flood insurance to your policy. It takes 30 days to become effective.
Be aware of flood alerts and warnings by downloading the free FEMA app on your smart phone and selecting alerts for up to five locations of your choice.
Today's report will be available online at www.maine.gov/mema or can be obtained from MEMA by calling 207-624-4400.