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Heavy rain lets up but sets records in Maine

June 4, 2012
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GRAY, Maine—Record-setting heavy rains that caused minor flooding, closed roads and hampered weekend activities have let up across much of the state, but the days ahead promise more showers.

Some areas received close to or more than 6 inches of rain since Saturday morning, and the National Weather Service issued flood warnings Sunday across much of Maine and parts of New Hampshire as heavy rains continued falling.

The weather service said early Monday that the rain had let up, moving to northern and eastern Maine, but it warned of scattered showers and little sunshine over the next few days.

"We have this upper-level low sitting pretty much over the Great Lakes now, and it'll just sit there and spin," said meteorologist Mike Kistner. "So it looks like there'll be showers the whole work week. I won't say it'll be a washout, but there'll be showery, unsettled weather through at least Thursday."

A coastal flood warning for coastal Maine remained in effect into early Monday morning.

State and local transportation officials said numerous roads were closed or impassable because of standing water.

More than 6 inches was recorded in Durham. Just under 6 inches fell in numerous towns and cities in southern and central Maine, with the highest amounts in Portland, Auburn, Windham, Cumberland and Westbrook.

Portland received a record 3.63 inches of rain on Saturday, the fourth-wettest day recorded in June in 141 years of record-keeping.

In New Hampshire, several towns had received more than 3 inches as of Saturday morning, with amounts expected to rise during the day, the weather service said.

The rains put a damper on weekend activities.

In Maine, pounding rain and slippery conditions caused officials at Saturday's Class A outdoor track and field state championships in Windham to move the pole vault competition to Wednesday.

Many pilots skipped the Brunswick International Fly-In on Saturday because they feared getting stranded at the aircraft show, a spokeswoman said. Last year, more than 300 aircraft participated, but this year only a few airplanes and a helicopter had arrived by afternoon.

In New Hampshire, the Prescott Park Arts Festival postponed its annual Chowder Fest in Portsmouth, while a day of free family activities to commemorate the state's new Hampton Beach Sea Shell complex was put off.

Strong winds and rains created problems with large tents that had been set up along a section of Hampton's Ocean Boulevard for the event.

"Unfortunately, with the wind and the strong rain, we -- for the safety of the general public, for our entertainers and for the many, many people that volunteered for a lot of our events -- we had to cancel over 25 events today," John Nyhan, chairman of the Hampton Beach Area Commission, told the Portsmouth Herald.

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