A western Maine river flooded a heavily traveled road in Fryeburg on the heels of a weekend rainstorm during which a record high temperature set more than 30 years ago was tied.
Meanwhile, a road in York County was shut down for nine hours after a fuel tanker jackknifed across it late Saturday night.
The melting caused by the high temperatures led the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch that remained in effect through 7 p.m. Sunday.
One of the rivers that the weather service was keeping an eye on – the Saco River – overflowed its banks Sunday afternoon and flooded River Street in the Oxford County town of Fryeburg.
Fryeburg police Sgt. Joshua Potvin said River Street had to be shut down around 3 p.m. after witnesses told police that drivers were attempting to travel through the flooded area.
“One witness told us that the water was halfway up the vehicle’s door before the operator decided to back out,” Potvin said in a press release.
A Fryeburg dispatcher said the road, which is used by motorists traveling from the New Hampshire border to Route 302 in Maine, will likely remain closed through the Monday morning commute.
The York County Sheriff’s Office said Route 25 in Cornish had to be shut down for nine hours after Diane Luce, 51, of Arundel lost control of a partially filled fuel tanker, which jackknifed across the road.
The truck, which is owned by H.A. Mapes, Inc. of Sanford, was traveling west on Route 25 around 10 p.m. Saturday when the fuel tanker spun out of control near the Parsonsfield town line.
The Sheriff’s Office said the “precarious position” of the truck prevented it from being moved without the assistance of a tow truck. The truck was carrying 9,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which had to be offloaded before the truck could be moved. The fuel did not spill, but the road did not reopen until 7 a.m. Sunday. Traffic had to be detoured through the towns of Porter and Hiram.
Luce was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was treated for minor injuries and released.
Also Sunday, Maine State Police identified the two persons who died Saturday in Hollis after the van they were riding in crossed over a slush-covered road and struck a pickup truck.
State police spokesman Steve McCausland said bad weather was a factor when 17-year-old Zach Reynolds of Limington lost control of the van and crossed into oncoming traffic on slush-covered Route 117 in Hollis on Saturday afternoon. The van struck a pickup truck operated by David Devore, 29, of Limington.
Reynolds’ passengers – his father, Peter Reynolds, 49, and Sherri Demelle, 43, of Limington – died in the crash, which took place around 2:30 p.m. McCausland identified Demelle as Peter Reynolds’ girlfriend.
The 17-year-old along with Devore and a passenger in the pickup truck, Brittany Stacey, 24, of Limington, were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
The York County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release Sunday that said about 70 vehicles were involved in crashes or needed help after sliding off roads as the result of Saturday’s storm.
Deputies also had to shut down a 5-mile stretch of Route 11 in Shapleigh around 6:30 p.m. Saturday after a dozen cars slid off the road and became stuck. The road reopened after crews from the Maine Department of Transportation sanded the road.
Bob Marine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said that when the rainstorm started Saturday morning it froze on roads and sidewalks. It took several hours for the temperature to rise above freezing, and that left roadways covered with ice. It wasn’t until early Sunday morning that things heated up.
But even then some roads in Maine were covered with ice.
Police said a Delta ambulance carrying a 71-year-old patient rolled over about 8:10 a.m. Sunday after being hit by a sports utility vehicle on icy roads on Route 17 in Windsor, the Kennebec Journal reported. The patient and four other people injured in the crash did not sustain any life threatening injuries, according to police.
Marine said the city of Portland tied a record high temperature at 1:24 a.m. Sunday. The previous record high of 51 degrees for the same date was set in 1980.
The heavy rain from Saturday’s storm also affected some ski areas.
Eaton Mountain in Skowhegan closed Sunday and Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley closed its ski lifts temporarily Sunday morning due to trail conditions and high winds, the Morning Sentinel reported.
Marine said Monday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the low 40s.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: