Warm, windy and wet conditions will descend on central Maine for Christmas, with power outages and flooding possible.

“We’re expecting a little over 2 inches of rain, higher elevations will see even a little more than that,” Michael Clair, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Gray, said  Thursday. “We’re also expecting wind gusts from 45 to 50 miles per hour.”

Clair storm will pick up Thursday evening and carry on into Friday afternoon.

One of the major concerns with the storm is melting snow that could lead to flooding, Clair said.

In Waterville, the fire department advised people living near the Kennebec River to park away from the shoreline and on higher elevations.

“One thing we can expect from this storm is a lot of melting snow and we do have flooding concerns due to the combination of rain and melting snow,” Clair said Thursday. “This will last for a lot of the day tomorrow until mid-afternoon it will wind down.”

In Augusta, city officials were preparing for wind damage to include downed trees and wires that could cause power outages along with a significant rain event. The rain and snowmelt bring the possibility of localized flooding, Lesley Jones, public works director, said in a memo to other city officials. She said the Kennebec River may also flood into the Front Street parking lot as it has in similar types of winter storms in the past. Officials were asking residents and business owners to prepare for the weather event by making sure they have what they need to get through a power outage in cold weather with only about eight hours of daylight.

Front Street in downtown Augusta was set to be closed to parking beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday. Water was expected to rise in the north end of the Front Street parking lot, according to the Augusta Police Department, which warned that any vehicles left behind may be towed.

The National Weather Service has issued a “Flood Watch” for portions of Maine from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.

People should prepare for potential power outages Christmas Day, according to a statement from the Maine Emergency Management Agency. “The timing of the storm isn’t good, but folks still need to prepare for possibly losing power as well as poor driving conditions,” MEMA Director Peter Rogers said in a prepared statement.

 

 

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