Portland dries out, may seek federal aid for storm recovery

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PORTLAND — Cleanups and calculations continued Tuesday after the Aug. 13 storm that dumped more than 6 inches of rain on the city.

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin on Monday said damage estimates were still getting tabulated as the city considered whether it is eligible for disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to the National Weather Service in Gray, 6.43 inches of rain fell, with 4.2 inches falling between 9 and 11 p.m. The storm set a city rainfall record for the date, and became the fifth wettest day in city history dating to 1871.

The storms ranked ahead of the Aug. 13 deluge were all related to tropical events, according to the NWS.

The waters inundated low-lying areas in Bayside and Parkside, and the pond at Deering Oaks Park flooded even though city crews lowered its level by a foot in anticipation of the storm.

Flowing water also caused washouts of curbs and sidewalks on High Street between York and Commercial streets. In Bayside, Marginal Way was swamped and customers at Whole Foods reported getting stranded in the store parking lot.

Municipal buildings including City Hall, Merrill Auditorium and the Traffic Division and Building Trades offices at 65 Hanover St. were flooded.

Grondin said the City Hall basement and the bathrooms, lobby, backstage area, rehearsal hall and dressing rooms at Merrill Auditorium were particularly messy, because storm water combined with sewage backups.

Crews worked through Wednesday night and Thursday morning to clean up Merrill Auditorium, and Sunday’s Jackson Browne concert went on as scheduled.

The rain also swamped city emergency dispatchers with 841 calls, Grondin said.

“That number is several hundred higher than a normal day,” she said.

High water displaced 13 manhole covers and led to evacuation of eight buildings, including the La Quinta Inn & Suites at 340 Park Ave.

Grondin said 200 guests were forced from the hotel. Cleanup continued this week according to staff. On Aug. 15, water-damaged vehicles were still being removed from the parking lot, while crews swept away grit and debris.

Across the street at the J.P. Hood Dairy bottling plant, operations were relatively unaffected, although employee-owned vehicles parked on Park Avenue were damaged.

On Tuesday, Hood spokeswoman Lynne Bohan said some trucks also sustained water damage and some deliveries were affected, but the plant itself was not flooded.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Sidebar Elements

Scarborough resident Adam Chick waits for help early Thursday morning, Aug. 14,  in his car, which was disabled by high water on State Street in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park.

Cleanup Aug. 15 at the La Quinta Inn & Suites at 340 Park Ave. in Portland included indoor and outdoor work. Flooding from an Aug. 13 storm displaced about 200 guests.

Washed out curbs and sidewalks are filled in Aug. 15 on High Street between Commercial and York streets. A storm that dumped more than 6 inches of rain Aug. 13 caused the damage and set a city record for rainfall.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.