In addition to snow and wind, Thursday’s blizzard brought historic flooding to the southern Maine coast, from Portland all the way into New Hampshire.
John Cannon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, says the combination of the storm and a near full moon pushed water levels to their highest in four decades.
“The flood state in Portland reached 13.79 feet. We haven’t reached that high since the blizzard of ‘78. That’s how significant this is,” he says.
State marine geologist Peter Slovinsky says the blizzard of ‘78 is actually the only storm in state history that overshadows Thursday’s.
“It’s the second highest water level we’ve seen since 1912,” he says.
Cannon says the flooding covered some roadways with a foot or more of water and, in some instances, ice.
“Because it’s been below zero, and the marshes were all frozen up, when the sea level and the storm surge rose, it brought the ice on the roadways. It’s actually blocking and shutting down some roadways,” he says.
The peak of the flooding was from about noon to midafternoon. Though Friday will bring bone-chilling cold, Cannon doesn’t expect more flooding. The winds will shift to push the water away from the coast and out to sea.