AUGUSTA — State experts said Thursday they were predicting a normal to below-normal risk of spring flooding, with the possibility of drought.

The Maine River Flow Advisory Commission met virtually to discuss ice conditions, flooding risks and possible drought conditions across the state, according to a statement released by the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

The commission’s members include representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, National Weather Service in Gray and Caribou, U.S. Coast Guard, University of Maine, Maine Emergency Management Agency and National Flood Insurance Program.

Members of the commission said there are low to below-normal stream flow and groundwater conditions across Maine. Without a spring recharge, they said, dry conditions might be expected from late spring into summer. Coupled with normal to below-normal snowpack conditions, there is a below-normal risk for river flooding.

The National Weather Service has predicted a warm-up with little precipitation next week, so current conditions are not expected to change.

“If we have a really mild spring, we may be looking at a drought again,” said Robert Lent, co-chair of the commission. “But if we do get precipitation, I think we agree that the potential of spring flooding is normal to below normal.”

Nicholas Stasulis, data section chief for the U.S. Geological Survey, added that low levels of snow “do not mean the flooding risk isn’t there.”

Saying Maine this year has had a light ice season, officials from the Coast Guard said crews have spent 180 hours on icebreaking on the Penobscot River in Bangor, with their next icebreaking mission set for March 22 to 25.


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