AUGUSTA — Front Street in Augusta was closed Sunday evening due to potential flooding along the Kennebec River, and police urged those parked in the area to move their automobiles.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Augusta police said most of the vehicles on Front Street had been moved and sawhorses were being used to block access to the parking lot after the river level rose more than a foot in 12 minutes and nearly 2 feet in 30 minutes.

Sean Goodwin, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, said an ice jam started forming south of the Calumet Bridge in Augusta, pushing the Kennebec River toward the minor flooding stage.

Public safety officials said they were watching the Kennebec River’s level since earlier Sunday. Goodwin sent out an advisory at about 11:30 a.m. that the river had reached nearly 11 feet above the bottom of the river channel.

“We all need to keep an eye out for the river going up with possible ice movement at some point,” Goodwin said in the email.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the city of Augusta sent out a notification to monitor conditions and move vehicles to higher ground.

At that point in the river, action stage — the level at which some action is needed to prepare for possible flooding — is at 10 feet. Minor flooding typically occurs at 12 feet.

At 4:36 p.m, the river was at 10.1 feet. At 5:06 p.m., it had reached 11.84 feet.

According to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, the level of the river has been rising steadily since Friday evening.

Goodwin said he had been in contact with the fire chiefs in Hallowell and Gardiner, and neither reported any indication of flooding.

“That can change at any time,” Goodwin said.

Even so, the Hallowell Fire Department posted an advisory at about 7 p.m. urging people to remove their vehicles from Front Street in Hallowell in case the river should start rising there.

Public safety officials are expected to continue monitoring the river level Monday.


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