KENNEBUNK — Anna Perron knows that her mother’s yard floods easily, but the water left by the storm that ushered out a historically wet March will stand out in her memory.

“We’ve had water issues before,” Perron said, looking out over a yard with a foot or two of water in places around the house on Alfred Road. “But it’s never been this bad.”

The tail end of another long rainstorm sent rivers and streams over their banks Wednesday, particularly in York County, where officials said Kennebunk was the hardest-hit town. Some roads were closed because water was rushing over them, but there were no reports of other major problems.

Officials said they were counting their blessings, especially when they heard reports from Rhode Island and Connecticut, where flooding closed sections of Interstate 95, stopped train service and closed schools.

“We dodged a bullet, especially when you compare us with the rest of New England,” said Jim Budway, director of the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency. “It was just under the level where it would have caused a lot of havoc.”

Officials in York and Cumberland counties said they were still getting damage assessments from towns and cities, but they don’t expect to see as much damage as other recent storms have caused.

On Feb. 25-26, a storm that brought winds as strong as 70 mph and more than 8 inches of rain to parts of southern Maine knocked out power to more than 133,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers.

On March 14-15, another storm dumped as much as 8 inches of rain on southern Maine, collapsed the bank of a reservoir pond, inundated several houses in Berwick and forced the closure of 62 roads in York County.

This week, hundreds of homeowners used sump pumps to try to keep their basements dry, or mopped up when the pumps failed to keep up with the amount of water coming in.

Perron, who stayed up late Tuesday night tending pumps borrowed from the fire department, said she had to have the power to her mother’s home cut off because rising water was getting too close to outlets on the first floor.

The house has a crawl space, not a basement. Now Perron is worried about mold growing once the water recedes.

“The ground is so saturated right now, it’s like a big sponge,” said Steve Harding, public information officer for the York County Emergency Management Agency.

That’s not surprising, given that rainfall last month set a record for March in Portland, with 11.06 inches by Wednesday. The previous record was 9.97 inches, recorded in 1953, said David Glenn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

March 2010 ranked near the bottom for snowfall, with 0.1 inches recorded, compared with an average of nearly 13 inches.

Glenn said three Marches had only a trace of snowfall, and March 1946 brought no snow. In every other March in 128 years of record-keeping, Portland had more snow than was recorded last month.

The winter also will go down as relatively snowless, with just 37.1 inches, compared with an average of 62.9 inches by the end of March, Glenn said.

He said sunny skies that are expected today and temperatures in the 60s and 70s this weekend should help dry out the region.

“I’m waiting for Friday and Saturday,” Harding said. “It’s going to take two or three days for some of these big areas to clear” of water.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]


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