The National Weather Service warned motorists to use caution Sunday night and Monday as several rivers across Maine reached flood stage or were soon expected to flood their banks.

Chris Legro, a meteorologist with the weather service in Gray, said river conditions vary widely from northern Maine to the state’s border with New Hampshire, with the most severe flooding expected in Aroostook County. Some roads and bridges in Aroostook County had to be closed to traffic Sunday because of flooding.

“They still have a lot more snow in northern Maine, which increases the potential for a more significant melt-off,” Legro said.

The weather service’s Caribou office issued a flood watch late Sunday afternoon alerting residents that even though rainfall had ended, rapid snowmelt will bring many streams out of their banks into Monday.

“The larger rivers will continue to see rises into Monday with minor to moderate flooding,” the Caribou office said.

The St. John River at Fort Kent, the Fish River at Fort Kent and the Mattawamkeag River above Mattawamkeag were all placed under flood warnings Sunday evening.

“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads,” the weather service said on its website. “Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”

In central and western Maine, the rivers that have flooded or were most likely to flood overnight are the Saco, Androscoggin, Kennebec and Swift rivers, Legro said.

The Kennebec crested its banks Sunday morning, but according to Tom Hawley, a hydrologist for the weather service, “we dodged a bullet.”

“We’re lucky we didn’t get more rain than we did,” he said. “Otherwise, with snow in the mountains, there could have been more flooding.”

Legro said the weather service received reports that the Kennebec River in Augusta exceeded flood stage Sunday afternoon by about 2 feet. Flooding along the the river is expected to subside sometime Monday.

“There are no problems right now except for inconvenience of parking,” said Sean Goodwin, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency.

Water crept onto Front Street near Waterfront Park in Augusta, over the bulkhead in Hallowell, and into Gardiner Landing. Police in Augusta and Hallowell blocked parking near the water.

“We’ll keep a wary eye just in case it sneaks up,” Goodwin said, warning there could be flooding at the mouth of Cobbosseecontee Stream in Gardiner.

The Saco River, which flows from Conway, New Hampshire, through Fryeburg, crested late Saturday night, exceeding flood stage by 2 feet. “Today the Saco is on its way down,” Legro said Sunday.

The Androscoggin River in Rumford and Auburn was expected to experience flood conditions through Monday evening.

Legro said a flood warning was issued late Sunday afternoon for the Swift River in Roxbury, a town in Oxford County. Minor flooding was expected to occur along the Swift River on Sunday night.

Hawley said there is a chance of showers off and on through the middle part of the week.

“I don’t think it’s enough rainfall to bring the rivers higher than they are, but they will remain high through the week,” he said.

Flooding like what occurred Sunday isn’t unusual for this time of year.

“This is an event that happens most every year,” Hawley said.

Abigail Austin of the Kennebec Journal contributed to this report.

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