Rain and melting snow raised the St. John to more than 30 feet– about 5 feet above flood stage — causing widespread flooding.
But a spokesman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency says the community dodged a bullet because the water never topped a levee that protects downtown.
About 600 people were evacuated in the Fort Kent area, and officials sighed with relief that the water did not spill over the levee. The International Bridge between Fort Kent and Clair, New Brunswick, held up despite fears that the raging waters could drag it down, choking the fast-moving river.
The National Weather Service said the water level on the St. John River was 29.2 feet at 6:30Thursday morning, down from a peak of 30.14 feet at about midnight. Forecasters had feared it would hit 31 feet overnight, enough to top the levee.
Scientists describe the flooding for the community of 4,200 people in Fort Kent as ":greater than a 100-year event.":