Officials: 'Now Is The Time To Start Preparing' For Flooding In January Thaw

Jan 11, 2018

A week after major coastal flooding caught some Mainers off guard, the Maine Emergency Management Agency is urging residents across the state to get prepared for more potential flooding — this time along inland waterways — during this week’s sudden thaw.

“When flooding occurs those waters tend to rise pretty quickly, and you don’t always have a lot of time to think about things, so now is the time to start preparing,” says Susan Faloon with MEMA.

Faloon says people usually wait until it’s too late to start gathering resources, including packing a go-bag in case you can’t get back into your home, and identifying alternate routes to avoid water zones.

She says she was troubled to see footage on television news reports of vehicles trying to drive through recent coastal flooding. Motorists, Faloon says, should never traverse a water covered roadway.

“You don’t know what’s underneath. You don’t know whether the road may be washed away and that can be very dangerous and it only takes a very small amount of water to lose control of your vehicle,” she says.

John Cannon with the National Weather Service in Gray says Southern Maine is especially at risk over the next few days for ice jams, thanks to a mushy snow pack, more ice than usual on rivers, fog, rain and temperatures into the 50s. He says an inch to an inch and a half of rain is expected to fall through Friday night.

“That, in combination with the warm temperatures and all the moist air and fog — fog likes to eat snow as well — that’ll allow enough runoff to cause the rivers to rise,” he says.

The rain is expected to be followed by freezing rain and then a “flash freeze” as temperatures fall Saturday night.