The record-setting rainfall that began over the weekend continued to cause widespread flooding in central Maine on Tuesday with several roads washed out, campgrounds under water and businesses impacted.

The worst flooding in New England, according to a river forecast by the National Weather Service, was in Hallowell as the Kennebec River pushed over its banks and affected several shops and restaurants such as The Quarry Tap Room.

Steven Lachance, one of the owners of The Quarry Tap Room, said he has not seen flooding this bad since the bar opened in 2015. Water came up onto his patio and seeped into the basement where the bar has some dry storage.

“We’ll have to close for the next few days,” Lachance said.

The river crested at nearly 17 feet Tuesday morning, which was more than 5 feet above flood stage. Major flooding occurs in Hallowell when water rises to at least 18 feet, the weather service said.

City officials were waiting for the water to recede to assess the damage. Hallowell City Manager Gary Lamb said a number of basements had been flooded and some ditches washed out, but officials won’t be able to see the full extent of the damage until later in the week.


The rainstorm that began Sunday and continued into Monday dumped 5 inches of rain across parts of central Maine, even breaking a 1963 rainfall record in Augusta.

The Kennebec River’s water level Tuesday in Augusta, which peaked at 20.4 feet, was the third-highest on record in the city, according to the weather service.

The deluge of rainfall traveled from the headwaters of rivers and streams to the north and “into the main stem of the Kennebec,” Sarah Jamison, a hydrologist with the weather service in Gray, said Tuesday.

The Kennebec also was overflowing its banks in other towns such as Gardiner, Skowhegan, Waterville and Winslow. Two Rivers Campground in Skowhegan was swamped by water, and roads and parking lots elsewhere in that town were damaged. Parts of roads were washed away in Fairfield and other locations.

Two Rivers Campground owner Julie Salsbury said Tuesday that the property was under a couple feet of floodwater.

“The campground hasn’t been flooded like this since the flood of ’87,” she said.


Its season doesn’t begin until May 12 but a couple of seasonal residents who’d been setting up camp had to evacuate and take their campers elsewhere, she said.

Skowhegan fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez said Tuesday that while the river was still moving swiftly, “things are improving.”

“We went to at least a half-dozen homes with a pump to help the water out of basements and things like that,” Rodriguez said.

Several roads were affected by floodwater and the Family Dollar parking lot at 6 Main St. was washed out, he said.

In Fairfield, police officer Casey Dugas said Tuesday that road crews were working to patch up a few roads in town including Covell Road. But one, Green Road, had a 10-foot-wide portion that’s “completely washed out” where there was a culvert. He said the road will be closed for several days.

A motorist turns around Tuesday after approaching a portion of the Green Road in Fairfield that was washed away by floodwaters. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Officials in Gardiner were monitoring a section of Harrison Avenue close to Cobbosseecontee Stream where high water levels had done some damage.


Gardiner fire Chief Rick Sieberg said a section of Harrison Avenue, between Ash and Andrews streets, was closed to traffic because of safety concerns. Part of the stream bank below the roadway had washed away on Monday.

Further downstream, near where the Cobbosseecontee flows into the Kennebec, the Maine Department of Transportation closed both the pedestrian and vehicle bridges crossing Maine Avenue on Tuesday because of the high water levels.

In downtown Waterville, the Hathaway Creative Center parking lot was inundated with water. The flood had carried many large logs and debris into the lot by Tuesday morning, and attracted a handful of onlookers. People took photos and marveled at the flood, many comparing it to the flood of 1987.

The Kennebec River breaks its banks and floods most of the parking lot Tuesday at the Hathaway Creative Center in the South End of Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“It’s gotten better,” Rick Pullen, owner of the Hathaway building, said of the flooding Tuesday. Pullen stood at the edge of the water trying to read the parking passes of the one or two partially submerged cars to notify their owners. Most residents had moved their vehicles away from the water.

“I’m told part of our parking lot is eroded,” Pullen said.

Jamison, the weather service hydrologist, said waterways are receding but many towns along the Kennebec River can expect to be above the flood stage for the next few days.


“We’re just going to continue to monitor everything until the water goes down,” Jason Decker, deputy director of Kennebec County’s Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday. “(Then) we’ll step in and start doing a lot of the damage assessment stuff and go from there.”

Flooding will continue, though receding, through Wednesday, Decker said, because the area is forecast to receive another half-inch of rain. Once the water levels lower, he said a large-scale cleanup will be required.

“We’re going to have to worry about drying everything out, and there’s going to be mold issues,” Decker said.

Jamison said this week’s flooding is atypical in that it’s caused solely by the rainfall as opposed to a combination of rainfall and snowmelt in Maine’s northern regions.

“We dodged a bullet in that respect,” Jamison said.

Kennebec Journal photographer Joe Phelan and Kennebec Journal staff writer Jessica Lowell contributed to this report.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.