In this tropical air, when it rains, it pours, and it poured for about two hours in the wrong location at the wrong time Thursday afternoon.

We call it ‘flash’ flooding for a reason. In a matter of minutes, Lewiston streets and underpasses were covered in up to three feet of water.

Flash flooding is most common in cities, where water runs off on pavement and concrete and pools in low-lying areas.

At 2:30 p.m., it was completely dry in the city.

An hour later, a strong thunderstorm with rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour formed over Lewiston-Auburn. It was extremely localized and sat over the two cities. The first flooding reports came in around 4:15 p.m.

The storm grew and barely moved. That’s thanks to very little wind aloft, which could’ve moved the storm along.


The Flash Flood Warning was issued by the National Weather Service at 4:38 p.m. People in the area received this warning on their smartphone; much like tornado warnings or Amber alerts, flash flood warnings are pushed out immediately.

Two feet of water was reported at Ash and Bates Street; the bus station was flooded. Up to three feet of water was reported at the corner of Route 126 and Stanley Street. All of this took place during the evening commute, a time when more people than usual are on the road.

But as quickly as the storm grew, it weakened, and started to move away. By 5:30 p.m., the rain was over, and the warning was canceled shortly after 6 p.m.

Fortunately, it appears this flood happened in just that — a flash — and things were back to normal in Lewiston and the surrounding towns Thursday evening.

The bottom line: Floods can happen fast. Always heed the warnings, and turn around, don’t drown.

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