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NOUS41 KCAR 121250
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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
850 AM SAT OCT 12 2013

...RIVER FORECASTS NOW BEING ISSUED FOR THE PENOBSCOT RIVER AT 
BANGOR...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN CARIBOU WILL NOW PROVIDE 
RIVER FORECAST AND WARNING INFORMATION SERVICES FOR THE PENOBSCOT 
RIVER AT BANGOR IN SOUTHERN PENOBSCOT COUNTY. THE NWS LOCATION 
IDENTIFIER FOR THIS SITE IS BPRM1. THIS GAUGE IS SITED RIGHT IN THE 
BANGOR BUSINESS DISTRICT WHERE THE KENDUSKEAG STREAM MEETS THE 
PENOBSCOT RIVER, WHICH THEN FLOWS SOUTH SOUTHWEST INTO THE PENOBSCOT 
BAY SOUTH OF BUCKSPORT. THE REACH OF THE RIVER FOR WHICH FORECASTS 
ARE VALID LIES ALONG THE BANGOR-BREWER LINE. 

THIS RIVER GAUGE IS AFFECTED BY TIDAL SURGES COMING UP FROM 
PENOBSCOT BAY. THESE TIDAL FLUCTUATIONS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE 
OFFICIAL FORECASTS.

FORECAST GUIDANCE WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE NWS NORTHEAST RIVER 
FORECAST CENTER TWICE DAILY YEAR-ROUND. RIVER FLOOD WARNINGS 
WILL BE ISSUED BY NWS CARIBOU WHEN THERE IS CONFIDENCE THAT FLOOD 
STAGE OR HIGHER WILL BE REACHED. 

ROUTINE RIVER STAGE FORECASTS WILL GIVE THE NWS AN AVENUE TO PREDICT 
AND MONITOR REVERSE TIDAL FLOODING EVENTS THAT AFFECT BANGOR'S 
BUSINESS DISTRICT. REVERSE TIDAL FLOODING OCCURS WHEN A STRONG 
COASTAL STORM MOVES INLAND FROM PENOBSCOT BAY PARALLEL TO THE 
PENOBSCOT RIVER. WHEN THESE STORMS STRIKE IN CONJUNCTION WITH HIGH 
TIDE, FLOODING CAN OCCUR AS WATER IS PUSHED INLAND AND UP THE RIVER 
BASIN. REVERSE TIDAL FLOODING IN BANGOR IS A GRAVE THREAT TO LIFE 
AND PROPERTY AND HAS CAUSED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DAMAGE IN THE 
PAST. RECENT EXAMPLES OF THIS FLOODING OCCURRED IN NOVEMBER 2005, 
APRIL 2007, AND AGAIN IN DECEMBER 2009, BUT THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF 
REVERSE TIDAL FLOODING WAS THE GROUNDHOG'S DAY STORM THAT STRUCK 
BANGOR IN FEBRUARY 1976. 

THE GROUNDHOG'S DAY STORM OCCURRED WHEN AN AREA OF VERY LOW PRESSURE 
SKIRTED JUST WEST OF THE PENOBSCOT RIVER, ACCOMPANIED BY WINDS OF UP 
TO 115 MPH, WAVES TO 14 FEET, AND A STORM SURGE OF 5 FEET. THIS 
STORM SURGE WAS AMPLIFIED AS IT PUSHED 20 MILES UP THE PENOBSCOT 
RIVER TO DOWNTOWN BANGOR. THE WAVE STRUCK BANGOR AT 11:15 AM, JUST 
ONE HOUR BEFORE HIGH TIDE. THE WATER WAS ESTIMATED TO HAVE RISEN AT 
A RATE OF ONE FOOT PER MINUTE, QUICKLY INUNDATING BUSINESSES, ROADS, 
AND PARKING LOTS TO A DEPTH OF OVER 12 FEET. MORE THAN 200 CARS WERE 
SUBMERGED AND MANY PEOPLE WERE TRAPPED IN THE RISING WATER. WITH 
RIVER FORECASTS NOW ISSUED TWICE A DAY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 
PERSONNEL, FIRST RESPONDERS, AND THOSE WITH INTERESTS IN DOWNTOWN 
BANGOR AND ALONG THE PENOBSCOT RIVER WILL BE ABLE TO PREPARE FOR 
THIS TYPE OF REVERSE TIDAL FLOODING WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE ACTUAL 
EVENT. 

HERE ARE THE CRITICAL STAGES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GAUGE:

ACTION STAGE: 11.0 FEET
MINOR FLOOD STAGE: 11.6 FEET
MODERATE FLOOD STAGE: 13.0 FEET
MAJOR FLOOD STAGE: 15.0 FEET

THESE STAGES WERE COORDINATED WITH THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL 
SURVEY (USGS) MAINE WATER SCIENCE CENTER, THE MAINE EMERGENCY 
MANAGEMENT AGENCY (MEMA), PENOBSCOT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND THE 
CITY OF BANGOR. THE PENOBSCOT RIVER GAUGE AT BANGOR IS RUN BY THE 
USGS, MEMA, AND THE CITY OF BANGOR. IT IS MAINTAINED BY THE USGS 
MAINE WATER SCIENCE CENTER.

RIVER STAGE DATA AND FORECASTS FOR THIS SITE CAN BE VIEWED ON THE 
NWS AHPS WEB PAGE AT 

HTTP://WATER.WEATHER.GOV/AHPS2/HYDROGRAPH.PHP?WFO=CAR&GAGE=BPRM1

THE NWS WELCOMES PUBLIC FEEDBACK. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS 
ON THIS NEW SERVICE PLEASE CONTACT:

MAUREEN HASTINGS
HYDROLOGY PROGRAM MANAGER
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE
810 MAIN STREET
CARIBOU, MAINE 04736

PHONE: 207-492-0180
EMAIL: MAUREEN.HASTINGS@NOAA.GOV

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