Route 1 south of Belfast closed.... Much neighborly pumping at the harbors today — 5 to 8 inches of rain reported

Rainstorm swamps boats, closes roads; harbormasters urge boaters to check vessels

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 4:00pm

    The same rainstorm that is submerging cars along Marginal Way in Portland is also swamping boats in Penobscot Bay harbors and has closed a section of Route 1 south of Belfast where water washed out a bridge. Flooding also extended to the Rockland Public Library where firefighters mitigated water damage in the Historical Society room.

    Harbormasters and helpful Samaritans are pumping out dinghies and moored boats that appear precipitously close to sinking, and boat owners are urged to check their vessels as heavy rain — 5 to 8 inches recorded so far — continues to fall.

    Camden Harbormaster Steve Pixley has hauled one 21-foot power boat to safety after it started to sink, using two pumps to clear of the water out of it.

    That boat was moored near Curtis Island and like other vessels in that particular part of the harbor, the bow was facing the outgoing current carried from the harbor to the bay, and its stern was catching the swells that are rolling into the harbor on the northeast wind.

    “The water was rushing over the transom,” said Pixley.

    He, Erick Scott, Scott Entwistle and crew from Lyman Morse have been out tending to at least four distressed vessels, pumping them free from the collected water. 

    One old wooden skiff, however, succumbed to the rising sea and rainwater, and is now submerged below a Camden dock.

    Another fishing boat was taking on too much water, and Pixley and crew pumped that boat out.

    “It’s all all-point bulletin,” said Pixley. “Please come check on your boats.”

    In Rockport Harbor, the pumping has likewise been nonstop, with Eliza Massey, assistant harbormaster, tending to the dinghies on the docks that look close to sinking.

    Still, because the waters were calm earlier today, Sept. 30, some fishermen headed out to check traps and were riding back in before the wind picked up this afternoon.

    By 1:15 p.m., the harbors were awash with an astronomically high tide, and at Rockport, Goodie’s Beach was completely covered with incoming waves. Winds were not heavy, but swells and the strong tide were rolling boats and docks around in the harbors.

    Rockport Harbormaster Abbie Leonard measured more than 5 inches of rain in the gauge near Goodie’s Beach. At the Camden Snow Bowl, 8 inches of rain had fallen, according to a rain gauge there.

    Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley reported that the intersection of Barnestown and Molyneaux roads near the Camden Snow Bowl has flooded and is closed to traffic.

    The fire department has responded to several calls today involving flooded basements and clogged gutters. 

    In Rockland, firefighters responded at 2:30 p.m. to flooding in the Rockland Public Library, where historical archives are kept.

    As of 4 p.m., the National Weather Service was predicting strong winds on the water, blowing from the north, 15 to 25 knots, with gusts up to 40 knots and seas running 7 to 12 feet.

    The rain is forecast to continue until later this evening. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Knox and Waldo counties through 6:45pm for small stream and urban flooding. Drivers are reminded and urged to not drive on flooded roads.

    Following are current lane and road closures, per Knox County Emergency Management Director Ray Sisk:

    • Route 1 in Camden to the Lincolnville town line: Closed
    • Gurney Town Road in Appleton: Reduced to one lane due to washout.
    • Sennebec Road in Appleton, near Allen's Brook: Closed.
    • Route 131 in Appleton was closed Route 105 to Route 105: Closure now extended to Union, just below Lodge Lane.
    • Town of Union: Restricting access to Route 131 from Route 17, locals only.
    • Hatchet Mountain Road in Hope: Near Box 485, washout, reduced to one lane.
    • Burkettville Road, at Appleton Ridge Road: Water over the road, so will probably close if not already, look for signs.
    • Jones Hill Road in Appleton: Closed
    • Barnestown Road in Camden: From Molyneaux to Gillette is closed.
    • Barnestown Road in Camden: North end of Hosmer Pond area has been washed out.
    • Rollins Road in Camden: Closed, because it's mostly mud now.
    • Route 52 in Camden: From Beaucaire Avenue up to the Lincolnville town line is closed.
    • Indian Point Road in North Haven: Closed from Indian Point to South Shore Road.
    • West Washington Road in Washington: From Razorville Road to Bowman Mills Road.

    “We have made a formal request to MDOT on behalf of the Town of Appleton for inspection of the Sennebec Road Bridge over the St. George River in Appleton Village. The town reports flood waters were 2-feet over the bridge deck at one point and some abutment erosion is suspected. MDOT feels the bridge will be safe for traffic, but will conduct a full assessment after floodwater recedes,” said Sisk around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.

    Per Waldo County Dispatch:

    • Travel from Prospect to Belfast along Route 1/1A is treacherous
    • Northport: Route 1 at Beech Hill Road South to the Lincolnville town line is closed.
    • Searsport: Route 1 in both directions, between Mortland Road and Black Road, is closed.
    • Belfast: Route 137/Waldo Avenue, near the Veterans Memorial Bridge, at the Route 1 Bypass is closed.

    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at; 207-706-6657