Heavy rain washed out High Street in South Paris on Sunday WGME photo

Sunday brought a range of wild weather to Maine that included torrential downpours, a tornado watch and extensive flooding in the western part of the state.

Downpours and flash flooding posed the greatest threats. Authorities reported flooding and impassable roads in several Oxford County communities, including South Paris, Bridgton, Norway, Bethel, Lovell and Mexico. There were no reports of vehicle damage or injuries as a result of the flooding.

Hunter Tubbs, a meteorologist for the the National Weather Service office in Gray, said some areas of western Maine reported as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain in under an hour.

“Most of the heaviest rain fell in the foothills of western Maine,” he said.

Denmark reported 2.59 inches, Fryeburg 2.81 inches, Lovell 3.13 inches, Harrison 2.9 inches, Peru 1.77 inches and Andover 1.03 inches, according to the National Weather Service. In Portland, 0.66 inches of rain fell, while Sanford saw 1.02 inches and Hollis 1.44.

South Paris Fire and Rescue said on its Facebook page Sunday night that High Street had washed away and will remain closed until Monday morning. It also said that Upper Swallow, Hebron and Elm Hill roads were flooded.


Tubbs said Sunday night that the storm had started to move eastward, but that scattered showers and thunderstorms were still possible late Sunday. Monday’s forecast for Portland calls for partly sunny skies, highs near 80 and humid, dry conditions.

Roads in Bethel were flooded Sunday. WGME photo

WGME reported flooding at the intersection of Cross Street and Walkers Mills Road in Bethel.

“It’s been torrentially down pouring for I want to say half the day,” Isaiah Lambert, who works at Butcher Burger in Bethel, said Sunday. “As of right now we are closed down for the safety of our customers and the safety of our employees,” Lambert said.

“The water is now running from upper street down and is going through the backyard of Bethel House Pizza and making a giant river,” Lambert said. The flowing water reached a couple feet deep in some parts.

A flood warning remained in effect through around 6 a.m. Monday.

Tubbs said the National Weather Service launched a weather balloon in Gray around 7 a.m. Sunday. It provided information about the record breaking total atmospheric water vapor in the air above Maine and the reason for some of the torrential downpours and flash flooding.


The balloon showed that the moisture content in the air above us was holding a precipitable water value of 2.34 – higher than the previous record of 2.26 set on Aug. 20, 2021.

“Think of it (precipitable water value) like a saturated sponge: When you squeeze it, there is a lot of water that can come out,” he said.

The tornado watch covered much of Cumberland and York counties and was the first issued for the area in over three years, Tubbs said. The watch was canceled at 3 p.m.

More showers and gusty thunderstorms with heavy rain possible Tuesday afternoon and evening. National Weather Service map

Though western Maine got drenched Sunday, Portland and other areas along the coast mostly escaped some of those downpours and flash flooding.

Portland police Lt. Robert Doherty said the city wasn’t experiencing any major flooding problems Sunday.

“There is water pooling in various roads. Baxter Boulevard had a large amount of water,” he said. “But traffic is moving through slowly. We’ve had some trees down on Hamblet Street and Sherwood Street.”


“Motorists have taken side streets to avoid downed limbs,” he added. “But the damage was minimum and there were no injuries.”

There were five motor vehicle crashes in Portland on Sunday, but no injuries, Doherty said Sunday afternoon.

Residents in Vermont saw historic flooding last week, causing damage to roads, homes and businesses and leading to the drowning of a man in Barre, a city of about 8,500 people in the central part of the state.

Earlier in the day, National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Baron said weather models have been consistently showing that Maine will likely continue to see more rainy weather through the end of July.

“It’s been over a month now where these low-pressure systems are just going around and continuing to cross our area,” Baron said.

He added that people should be cautious if they come across flooded roads and should not drive through floodwaters or around barricades.

Staff writers Bonnie Washuk and Rachel Ohm contributed to this report.

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