HALLOWELL (WGME) – Many communities along the Kennebec River are taking precautions against flooding after having experienced huge losses last year.
“We’re expecting flooding in the parking lot down in Augusta up against the buildings, flooding on front street in Hallowell,” Kennebec County Administrator Bob Devlin said.
While flooding on Front Street is common along the Kennebec River, business owners have learned not to take flood warnings lightly.
“We’re emptying everything out. Everything we can get out,” said Wayne Hyde, owner of The Wharf, a tavern on Front Street. Hyde said his business lost thousands of dollars due to flood damage in 2018.
“If that much water comes in we’ll be under water for days so we’ll be shut down for minimum two weeks cause we have to clean and disinfect everything, too,” Hyde said, adding that while that can be frustrating, the business will pick right back up where it left off.
“Put it all together and hope we don’t get another punch in the face. It’s a little disheartening but any business owner has a headache but this just so happens to be my headache,” he said.
Devlin said local flooding is only one concern.
“There is still a huge snowpack up there and if it rains onto that and that starts coming down, then a lot worse potential” for flooding exists, he said.
Officials in Hallowell said they are doing everything they can to keep business owners and residents informed to prevent as much damage as possible.
“This year we also have an additional about 35 parking spots on Central Street. We have a new parking lot that the city built so it will be a little easier than in the past,” said Hallowell Fire Chief Jim Owens.