UPDATED: Storm swamps greater Portland, damages roads, buildings in city and several nearby communities
PORTLAND — Storm damage flowed from Merrill Auditorium to Deering Oaks Park as the city was inundated by a torrential rainstorm Wednesday night, Aug. 13.
More than 6 inches of rain was recorded at the Portland Jetport, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, with about half the total falling between 9-11 p.m. The area typically receives about 3 inches of rain the entire month of August.
City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said Thursday morning emergency dispatchers received 841 storm-related calls, with 116 overnight. More than 200 people were forced out of the La Quinta Inn & Suites at 340 Park Ave. because of flooding.
In Deering Oaks Park, a draw-down of the pond water level in anticipation of the storm could not prevent it from overflowing. Knee-high water was reported at intersections near the park. Marginal Way was also flooded.
The storm caused flooding and sewage backups in the basement of City Hall. In the adjacent Merrill Auditorium, damage was reported in the bathrooms, lobby, backstage area, rehearsal hall and dressing rooms.
Grondin said crews are working to repair damages and a Jackson Browne concert scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 17, is expected to go on.
Portland Police Department Lt. Gary Rogers said manhole covers were dislodged in 13 locations.
"A great deal of water pressure just pushed them up," Rogers said.
Rogers said getting around the city was also treacherous for pedestrians.
“You couldn't see curbs," he said.
The storm also washed out curbing and sidewalks on High Street between York and Commercial streets. The city Traffic Division building at 65 Hanover St. received "significant flooding," Grondin said. A total of eight properties were evacuated because of high water, she said.
Along Park Street, across from the La Quinta, workers' vehicles parked at H.P. Hood Dairy were damaged by high water. The bottling facility was still in operation. The nearby La Quinta was one of eight properties evacuated, Grondin said.
The weather service said a particularly strong portion of the storm was centered over Portland, Falmouth, Freeport and Brunswick. More than 6.4 inches of rain was recorded at the Jetport, while 5.28 inches was measured at another city location.
An area of west Falmouth recorded more than 4.5 inches of rain. Measurements in Freeport and Brunswick were more than 6 inches and 5.25 inches, respectively.
Falmouth police and fire department officials were still assessing the situation Thursday morning, but Police Detective Tom Brady said there were at least nine storm-related calls.
“These are all boats breaking away, water problems, road flooding issues, things along those lines,” Brady said.
Flooding was reported on portions of Depot Road near U.S. Route 1, and Hurricane and Gray roads. The Allen Avenue Extension was temporarily closed near the Presumpscot River.
“We're right out straight today,” Brady said. “We're still dealing with all of this.”
In Cumberland, Fire Department officials said there were calls for flooded basements and temporary closures of Tuttle and Longwoods roads.
Freeport Public Works Superintendent Earl Gibson the storm caused washouts on road shoulders, but no serious flooding. Some town roads were closed for two or three hours Wednesday night.
On Aug. 14, Upper Mast Landing, Murch and Prout roads were each reduced to one lane, but were expected to be reopened fully by the end of the day.
Road closures in Brunswick included portions of Raymond and River roads. A culvert was reported washed out on Raymond Road between Church and Pleasant Hill roads.
Washouts were reported on Moody and Hacker roads, which remained open to traffic. Public Works crews were still assessing the extent of damages Thursday morning.
Yarmouth officials were still assessing storm damages.
In Topsham and Bath, reported damages were less severe, but included flooding on Meadow and Ward roads, and Bridge Street in Topsham, and calls for downed trees and wires in Bath.
High water also forced the closure of portions of 11 roads in Scarborough, particularly along the Nonesuch River and Scarborough Marsh. Gorham Road and U.S. Route 1 faced flooding conditions, as did two sections of Payne Road and a portion of Black Point Road near Camp Ketcha and Spurwink Road.
Also affected by heavy rains was the construction project to widen Pleasant Hill Road, where Scarborough Police reported "deep and large potholes" due to gravel washouts.
All roads were reported open Thursday morning.
In South Portland, Fire Department Lt. Robb Couture said dispatchers received more than 70 calls for about flooded basements and furnace problems. About five streets were closed, and emergency personnel also helped six or seven motorists stranded in vehicles by rising water.
Construction work on Grandview Avenue in Thornton Heights sustained washouts and the road remained passable only for emergency vehicles Thursday.
In Cape Elizabeth, Public Works Director Robert Malley reported no closed roads, but said there were several calls regarding flooded basements and a toppled tree on McAuley Drive.