Wild weather causes flooding and closures in Machias

This marks the second significant storm the area has seen in less than three weeks.
A green forest ranger truck surveys the flooding on a Machias street.
A photo of the Machias dike after the storm.

A significant storm that impacted much of the southern and eastern part of the country arrived Downeast early Wednesday morning, January 10. The storm brought substantial snow/rain mix with wind gusts up to 70 mph.

With the morning’s high tide, numerous areas in Machias were quickly flooded. The temporary bridge recently installed over the dike on Route 1 was closed for about two hours. Outlying areas adjacent to the Machias Town Office and Main Street also were impacted.

Court Street remained closed for much of the day while cleanup was under way. The East Machias Post Office was also closed due to floodwater entering the building.

Machias Town Manager Bill Kitchen said he as well as many in town were caught off guard with how quickly things changed with the storm.

“I am hearing from numerous folks who have lived here in excess of 50 years that they don’t ever remember seeing anything quite like this,” said Kitchen. “It was physically disturbing to watch the bay come across the parking lots, then surrounding the commercial buildings, then Route 1, then the town office. It all happened so incredibly fast. People didn’t even have time to move their cars.”

Maine forest rangers assisted local authorities with traffic and road closures.

“Most importantly, there have been no injuries, just property damage,” said Kitchen. “And again our police department, who managed the closing of Route 1, the dike and downtown, and our public works team working on other flooding and downed trees were flawless.”

Water from the Machias dike floods onto a street.
The Machias Dike on Wednesday morning. Screenshot from a video on the Machias Police Department Facebook page.

There were some power outages in the county, with trees falling across electric lines in some places.

According to numerous posts on social media, flooding was being reported in many communities up and down the Maine coast. Some roads were temporarily closed in coastal communities like Milbridge and Addison.

In Damariscotta the riverfront parking lot saw two feet of water; a Bar Harbor wharf structure floated into the sea, the Rockland breakwater was completely submerged, and the Deer Isle causeway was closed for a period of time.

This marks the second significant storm the area has seen in less than three weeks. On December 18 most parts of the state received heavy rain and wind gusts at hurricane force. Power for many in this area and across the state was out for more than three days.

This story was originally published by the Quoddy Tides, and is republished here with permission.

RJ Heller, Quoddy Tides

RJ Heller is a freelance journalist, essayist, photographer and author whose work appears in the Quoddy Tides and other publications. He is an avid reader and an award-winning book critic who enjoys sailing, hiking and many other outdoor pursuits. He lives in Starboard Cove.
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