Flood Warning in Effect as Rain Increases Risk of Flooding Along Kennebec River

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KENNEBEC RIVER, Maine (WABI) - A flood warning is once again in effect for the Kennebec River.

As Coast Guard icebreakers are unable to reach the ice jam in Farmingdale due to infrastructure clearances, officials are hoping Tuesday's rain will help break up the ice to get the river flowing.

"With the warming and then the freezing and then the warming, it hadn't been a constant warming, so those ice jams aren't completely going away and in some cases new ice jams are being created," said Susan Faloon, Public Information Officer for M.E.M.A.

Following last weekend's warm temperatures and Tuesday's rain, more melting snow raised the levels of the Kennebec River once again in Augusta, prompting the police department to close the downtown's flood-prone area of Front Street until further notice.

"There's some dams that are certainly causing some stability here in Augusta. The water is flowing, however at any point in time that could back the water up, therefore causing the water to overflow into Front Street or the waters coming from north of us could increase coming down with the rain and the melt off," said Lt. Kevin Lully, Augusta P.D.

Lt. Lully is asking residents, commuters, and business owners to be patient as city and state officials monitor river conditions over the next day or two.

"We're all curious by nature, including myself. I've been down a couple different times to view the river. People are going to have a tendency to go down there, but we're asking that they refrain from going onto Front Street, kind of look from afar," said Lully.

Tuesday's rain may add additional flow into the river causing some movement, which could break up the ice jam in Farmingdale, or it could cause the river to rise up behind the ice jam there, once again causing flooding in Hallowell in Augusta.

Coast guard ice cutters were stationed in Bath Tuesday and will be making their way up the Kennebec River Wednesday, expecting to reach the Gardiner area later this week.

"We're looking at the 140 foot ice breaking vessel from New York being in the area by Thursday evening," said Lt. Matthew Odom, Coast Guard Northern New England.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency is asking the public to remain up-to-date with weather alerts and warnings until the conditions have improved.

"One thing people can do to do that so they can get those right on their phones is download the FEMA app on their smartphone and they can get alerts and warnings for up to five different locations," said Faloon.