MEN USE A BOAT in an attempt to break ice on Thursday on the Royal River in Yarmouth. A state panel met Thursday to assess snowpack and ice conditions in Maine to determine the potential for spring flooding.

MEN USE A BOAT in an attempt to break ice on Thursday on the Royal River in Yarmouth. A state panel met Thursday to assess snowpack and ice conditions in Maine to determine the potential for spring flooding.

PORTLAND

Colder-than-normal temperatures projected through month’s end are going to prevent ice and snow from melting, causing a greater potential for spring flooding in Maine, officials said Thursday.

The Coast Guard scrapped icebreaking on the Penobscot River this week because the ice was so thick, underscoring reports of midwinter conditions at a time when melting should be underway.

The River Flow Advisory Commission, which met Thursday at the Maine Emergency Management Agency’s offices in Augusta, was warned that heavy rain and a rapid snowmelt next month could cause problems.

“Right now, every week that goes by, I think our flood threat will be increasing,” said Tom Hawley, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Gray. “By the time we get into April, I think we’re still going to have quite a bit of snow on the ground and that’s kind of worrisome to me.”

Heavy rainfall is always the biggest factor when it comes to spring flooding and ice jams on rivers. But the melting snowpack and ice are also big contributors.

Across the state, there’s 2 to 4 feet of snow on the ground with the deepest snowpack in the Moosehead and Down East regions, and lakes and ponds are covered by 1 to 3 feet of ice, officials said.

Thick ice stymied the Coast Guard’s attempt to break ice with three 65-foot vessels this week on the Penobscot River, said Lt. Dan Bourbeau of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The mission was called off after the vessels were only able to move 100 yards per hour. The Coast Guard hopes to return with a 140- foot ice breaker in a week, Bourbeau said.

The panel will meet again on April 2 to reassess conditions.

Snow & ice

ACROSS MAINE, there’s 2 to 4 feet of snow on the ground with the deepest snowpack in the Moosehead and Down East regions, and lakes and ponds are covered by 1 to 3 feet of ice.

THICK ICE STYMIED the Coast Guard’s attempt to break ice with three 65-foot vessels this week on the Penobscot River.


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