With the above normal snowpack for this time of year, the flood potential is now above normal. This includes the potential for flooding due to ice jams.
“We still have generally 25 to 40 inches over northern and central Maine into Western New Brunswick, and that snowpack contains a lot of water. Generally about 8 to 12 inches of water,” says Todd Foisy, Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service in Caribou.
So if all this snow were to melt at once, that would be like getting 8 to 12 inches of rain. Even though it has been a long winter, and people want temperatures to warm up quickly, this unfortunately is the worst case scenario.
“That’s really the last thing that we want. I think to really get a nice gradual melting of the snowpack with not too much flooding, we really want some continued cool temperatures,” says Foisy.
Now temperatures over the next few days will be milder, and we are expecting some rain, but Foisy says here in the north, the snow pack should act as a sponge to absorb most of the rain. But for Downeast Maine Foisy says, there will be some ice movement on the rivers. He says next week is what they are more worried about for the North, because we could have a few days above 50, and some rain.
“Saturday into Tuesday of early next week for maybe starting to get some movement on our rivers here in Northern Maine, and that’s when we’ll have to start worrying about those ice jams and the river flooding,” says Foisy.
Foisy says there are a few small jams in the Saint John Valley, but nothing that they know for sure will be a problem when break-up starts to occur. They do have weather spotters on the look out for these jams and flooding, but says if any of the public sees anything, call the National Weather Service in Caribou. And remember, if you do see any water, turn around don’t drown.