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Flooding, Power Outages Continue Across New England After Powerful Storm

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Recovery from yesterday's storm is now in full swing across New England as much calmer weather conditions will prevail for the rest of the week leading up to Christmas. After the storm's wind, rain and coastal flooding impacts began to subside yesterday, attention fully turned to river flooding. Maine is under a state of emergency and will seek federal disaster aid.


While some rivers crested Monday evening, others continued to rise throughout the night. As of 8pm Monday, six river gauges in New England remain at major flood stage. These are the Sandy River at Mercer, ME; Androscoggin River at Rumford, ME; Kennebec River at Hallowell, ME; Lamoille River at Jeffersonville, VT; Winooski River at Essex Junction, VT and Pawtuxet River at Cranston, RI.


All but the Keenebec River has crested or is receding as of Monday night. The Kennebec River at Sidney has crested, but the river gauge at Hallowell continues to rise tonight.



Some rivers approached, or exceeded, record levels Monday. The Swift River in Roxbury, ME crested at 14.2 feet, an all-time high. The Saco River in Conway, NH crested at its second highest point ever. The Androscoggin River in Rumford, ME and the Presumpscot River in Falmouth, ME both reached near record levels as well. The Ammonoosuc River in Bethlehem, NH came within 0.2 feet of record levels and the Woonasquatucket River in Centerdale, RI came within one foot.



Continuing water rises led to more issues overnight, especially along the Pleasant River in Maine. Water rescues were reported in Milo while evacuations were ordered in the early morning hours in Brownville.



This flooding has caused extensive road damage, with over 50 road closures remaining in effect across Maine alone as of 8:30am. Some repairs will take a while, with Route 302 in Carroll, New Hampshire expected to remain closed for days. The access road to Sunday River Resort in Maine has been washed out, trapping some in resort lodging and homes on the other side. The resort has suspended operations and has not yet given a date for reopening (as of writing).


Flooding around New England. Photo credits: Gary Savage, Angie Cuff, WGME, NECN, Andrew Drummond


A massive power disruption continued into Tuesday morning, and will likely continue for days. Just under 600,000 customers remain without power across New England as of 9am. This includes over 430,000 in Maine alone. Central Maine Power, the state's largest power provider, saw a peak of 397,000 outages. This has come down to just over 321,000 as of 9am. The 397,000 peak was close to their all-time record, which was set in 2017.




The power company has responded to over 15,000 calls and has brought in hundreds of extra crew members as assessment continues. One crew member was injured by a falling tree. The worker was transported to the hospital and has since been released. A total of three fatalities have been linked to the storm across New England, all from falling trees.


The other hard hit state in regards to power outages was Massachusetts. The state saw a peak of around 285,000 outages Monday afternoon. That number is down to just over 119,000 as of 9am Tuesday morning. Wind gusts in both Massachusetts and Maine peaked at 90+mph.



This led to an extreme amount of tree damage as well as some structural damage. Houses, cars and buildings were damaged across New England, including a structure collapse at the MassArt building in Boston, a car wash and an apartment building in New Hampshire lost portions of their roofs and scaffolding at an office building in Augusta was torn off.


Wind damage in New England. Photo credits: WMUR, Samantha Danis, Maine Capitol Police, WHDH




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