Heavy rain Monday brought power outages and flooding to some parts of Maine, while other areas stayed mostly dry across a state that’s facing the likelihood of increasing drought conditions.

Widespread showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue through Wednesday, mainly during afternoon and evening hours, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

But as farmers and others welcome the much needed precipitation, it probably won’t be enough to reverse abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions reported across Maine by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

People wait for a Metro bus at a stop on Congress Street in Portland on Monday. Widespread showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue through Wednesday, mainly during the afternoon and evening. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

“This rain is a good thing, but it doesn’t solve the problem,” said Bob Lent, associate director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Maine Water Science Center in Augusta. He’s also co-chairman of the state’s drought task force.

Lent said most of Maine got an inch of rain or less on Monday. Average ideal rainfall is about 4 inches spread over a month to avoid flooding and keep aquifers and other water resources topped off.

Before Monday, Maine had been stuck in a record dry spell the likes of which hadn’t been seen since 1871. As of June 21, less than a half-inch of rain had fallen since mid-May, the weather service said.

“It only took five weeks to get into drought conditions and the National Weather Service is predicting higher than average temperatures and lower than average rainfall for the next 30 days,” Lent said. “If that’s the case, it won’t take long for any benefit we gain from this rain to evaporate.”

A man walks in the rain on Congress Street in Portland on Monday. Before Monday, Maine had been stuck in a dry spell the likes of which hadn’t been seen since 1871. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Rainfall totals ranged from about 4.5 inches in Auburn and 3.85 inches in Bath, to a negligible 0.01 inch in Jonesboro and Houlton, according to weather service reports.

The rain gauge captured 2.4 inches in Portland, where the mouth of the Fore River was near flood stage Monday afternoon and some parts of Commercial Street were under water.

At Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Monday’s heavy rain was a mixed blessing, nourishing dusty fields but delaying the harvest of ripe strawberries and green peas. Both are ready for traditional Fourth of July feasts.

“It’s a welcome rain, but you need a little gap between showers,” Penny Jordan said. “Hopefully we’ll get a break tomorrow.”

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