Rains in northern New England add to flood threat


MONTPELIER (AP) -- Heavy rains and melting snow and ice pushed rivers toward or above flood stage around Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Tuesday and flooded some roads in the region.

Northern and central Vermont were under a flood warning -- meaning flooding was taking place or imminent. And flood watches or warnings were issued in New Hampshire and Maine.

In Montpelier, officials urged downtown residents and business owners to prepare for overnight flooding. Residents were warned to expect some flooding in basements by early Wednesday. The city’s emergency operations center planned to monitor overnight conditions.

Cold temperatures could make some city surfaces slick, but "We’re not expecting it to be super dangerous," City Manager William Fraser said.

Officials closed a low-lying parking lot off State Street, near the confluence of the Winooski River and its North Branch. The river was expected to hit flood stage Tuesday evening, then crest at 16 feet early Wednesday before starting to recede, Fraser said.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings Tuesday for the Otter Creek at Center Rutland, the Lamoille River at Johnson and Jeffersonville, the Barton River in Coventry, along the Connecticut River near Wells River and West Lebanon, N.H., and for the Connecticut River near Lunenburg, Vt., and Dalton, N.H.

The weather service expanded the flood warning areas throughout the day as heavy rains moved in, and warned motorists not to drive on flooded roads or bridges.

The weather service at its Caribou office in Maine said it was keeping an eye on reports of ice jams in the St. John River that runs along the Canadian border. The forecast for northern and eastern Maine called for 1 to 1.5 inches of rain Tuesday through Wednesday, increasing the risk of flooding that ice jams can cause.


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