Santa delivered a Christmas Day rain storm across the state of Maine beginning Thursday evening that was expected to continue into Friday night.

Andy Pohl, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said on Friday morning there was “quite a bit of rain” still to come by midnight. Most of central Maine received a half inch to an inch Thursday night into Friday morning. Derek Schroeter, another forecaster with the National Weather Service said there could be an inch or two of rain through the evening hours.

Gusts in Augusta reached 47 miles per hour, in Waterville highs were 33 miles per hour.

“Generally, widespread upwards of 45, just under 50 miles per hour,” Schroeter said. “Those are probably the peak gusts that we’re going to see, we’re not expecting much stronger than that through this evening.”

Sean Goodwin, director of Kennebec County’s Emergency Management Agency, wrote in an email release that the Kennebec River was expected to rise to at least 15.5 feet by 2 p.m. Saturday, which would also flood Front Street in Hallowell through Sunday. Waterfront Park in Augusta would also be flooded through Sunday afternoon. Temperatures hovered in the mid to high 40s, adding to the snow melt.

“The wind’s going to die down over night that makes it easier for power restoration for some people,” Goodwin said. “The water should go back down by Sunday.”

Officials worried about flooding prior to the storm. The National Weather Service issued a “Flood Warning” for portions of Maine from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. The Waterville Fire Department advised residents who live near the Kennebec River to park away from the shoreline. Augusta officials were concerned about potential flooding from the Kennebec River onto Front Street, so public works closed parking beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s always a risk, and with the high winds there’s potential for wires down and we’ve had a few of them,” Augusta Fire Chief Scott Dunbar said. “As of right now, it’s been pretty calm.”

Reports of downed trees and power lines picked up during the afternoon. The Vassalboro Fire Department reported Bog Road, approximately half a mile from Route 201, was blocked due to a downed tree.

“Obviously the road’s blocked off right now because we can’t have traffic go through there, but other than that, knock on wood, things have been pretty quiet,” Vassalboro Fire Chief Walker Thompson said. “I’m sure as time goes on and the wind blows, I’m sure we’ll get a couple more.”

A downed tree took some power lines with it on the Neck Road in China. Central Maine Power reported some power outages with customers in Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin counties. Outages in the latter were minimal, but there were approximately 4,500 outages in Kennebec County by 1:30 p.m., including 2,668 of Waterville’s 8,301 CMP customers. By 4 p.m., there were no outages in Waterville reported and 1,163 in total, a high of 404 in China.

“We’re planning for it to end up with tree and wire issues with the wind,” Waterville Fire Battalion Chief John Gromek said. “It’s just wait and see.”

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