Published Date Written by David CarkhuffLast year, thunderclouds and heavy rain nixed Portland's Fourth of July celebration, forcing a delay to the festivities.
This year, the forecast is more promising.
"Thursday should be partly cloudy with the chance of afternoon thunderstorms but mostly a nice night for the Fourth," said National Weather Service meteorologist Margaret Curtis.
In Portland, the Patriotic Pops concert for Independence Day is scheduled to begin at 7:40 p.m. Thursday and will be broadcast live on WHOM 94.9PM. The concert will run throughout the fireworks display which will begin at approximately 9:20 p.m., the city reported. A rain date, if one is needed, is scheduled for Friday, July 5. The public can visit july4thportland.org for the most up to date information or call the city's hotline at 756-8130 to check on cancellations.
"We have a little bit of a backdoor cold front pushing through," Curtis said, explaining the early-part-of-the-week doldrums.
Wednesday should mark the end of drizzle, with mostly cloudy conditions and highs in the upper 70s, she said. With a 20 percent chance of showers on Thursday, Curtis said the Fourth of July should weather any thundershowers.
The weekend looks to be dry with highs in the upper 80s, she said.
The first day of July came in damp, with 1.17 inches of rain, nearly a third of the normal rainfall for an entire month of July in a typical year, Curtis said. Average rainfall for July in Portland is 3.61 inches. Since June 1, 8.49 inches of rain have fallen, Curtis said. The 7.32 inches of rain that fell in June made the month 3.53 inches above normal, making it the seventh wettest June on record, she said.
"For the month of July, we can already guarantee that it's not going to be the driest July on record," Curtis said.
The soggy June prompted the city of Westbrook on Saturday, June 29 to close public access to the city's Presumpscot River ramps and floats and suspend kayak rentals. City officials encouraged people to stay out of the river due to high flow conditions. The closure will be in effect until flows go below 120,000 cubic feet per second, when the public will be notified, according to a city posting.
Westbrook announced the May 10 installation of three recreational ramps and floats on the Presumpscot River at the end of Ash Street – in the morthwest corner of Riverbank Park – and at the Brown Street Community Garden near Cottage Place. Custom Float Services of Portland installed the ramps and floats. They were paid for through the Westbrook Environmental Improvement Corporation and the Westbrook Recreation and Conservation Commission.
Bill Baker, assistant city administrator, issued a memo indicating that river-access alerts would come from Sappi Fine Paper North America, which is collaborating with the city of Westbrook in studying opportunities for the recreational and economic development of the Saccarappa Falls stretch of the Presumpscot River in downtown Westbrook.
"As the flows get in to the 130,000 CFS range the current becomes too strong to swim against and Sappi as a federal licensee feels like they have an obligation to warn people away from the river," Baker wrote in the memo, acknowledging that "the higher the flows the more appealing the paddling is for serious paddlers and licensed guides." But Baker said the city will caution the public "that flows make entering the river unsafe and the signs will come down when flows come down."
Visit http://www.westbrookmaine.com for updates on river safety.