PORTLAND – Most of southern Maine was drenched by another rainstorm Monday as Portland moved closer to breaking its 57-year-old rainfall record for March.

The National Weather Service in Gray predicted that today will bring even more heavy, driving rain, which won’t let up until Wednesday morning.

But those who have grown tired of flooded basements, downed tree limbs and washed-out roads can look forward to something. The National Weather Service is predicting that temperatures in some inland communities could reach 80 degrees by Friday.

But for now, it’s just more rain.

Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the weather service in Gray, said Monday that, “We need less than two and a half inches of rain over the next two days to break the record, which is certainly within the realm of possibility.”

Portland’s rainiest March came in 1953, when 9.97 inches fell.

Hayes said the 1.22 inches that fell on Portland on Monday pushed this month’s total to 7.93 inches.

This is the fourth significant rainstorm to sweep through Maine since late February, when a powerful, wind-driven rainstorm knocked out power to thousands of homes for several days.

Emergency management officials remain concerned about the steady, heavy rain that has been pummeling the state and the effect it could have on rivers and streams.

“We are concerned, especially in York and Cumberland counties,” said Lynette Miller, a spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency. “They have been hit hard and are waterlogged already.”

Officials were closely watching several rivers, as well as smaller streams that might flood today.

Miller said the parade of rainstorms has been tough on homeowners. The storm in late February caused $2.3 million worth of damage throughout five Maine counties.

A storm in mid-March dumped as much as 9 inches of rain on some parts of York County and 5 inches in some parts of Cumberland County.

“For the people and the property owners who have had to deal with these storms, it has been a big, bad dream,” she said.

Several other cities, including Boston and New York, were approaching their March rainfall records Monday.

The weather service posted flood warnings and advisories from Maine to the Carolinas as forecasts called for 5 to 7 inches of rain over the three days.

Meteorologists warned of a possible life-threatening situation along the Pawtuxet River in Rhode Island, with heavy flooding by this afternoon.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick put the National Guard on alert in case its help was needed.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]