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Cold front stalls over parts of New England; major flooding follows

Southern New England got more rain than they could handle on Labor Day, but Maine didn't — here's why.

PORTLAND, Maine — It's the same storm, but with a huge contrast in results. Let's break down what happened in New England on Labor Day weekend.

Over the weekend, a cold front moved south from northern Maine to Connecticut, and Rhode Island, then "blew a tire" or stalled. 

This set the stage for tropical moisture to be transported northward from the deep south around high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean.

Credit: jason nappi

As low pressure moved along the now stationary front, it triggered the atmosphere to dump several inches of rain in a short time. The air was incredibly moist, and once the sky opened up, it all came down at once. This led to the temporary closing of I-95 in Rhode Island and reports of flooded roads around Providence.

Streamflow rates in northeastern RI (Cranston) were off the charts, leading one National Weather Service meteorologist to classify this as a 100-200 year event, meaning there is a 0.5-1.0% chance of this happening in any given year. 

Credit: NWS
Credit: Jason Nappi

Maine saw some localized heavy rainfall, but not enough in a short amount of time to cause major flooding, like in Rhode Island along the I-95 corridor. It got so bad in Rhode Island that the Governor asked motorists to avoid traveling at one point in the afternoon.

Credit: Jason Nappi

Without the stalled frontal boundary over Maine, much lesser amounts were recorded for the majority of the state. However, western Maine did see a few inches thanks to embedded pockets of deep moisture. 

Credit: Jason Nappi
Credit: Jason Nappi

All in all, it was just what the doctor ordered to help put a dent in the moderate to severe drought for Maine. A new drought monitor update will be issued on Thursday, and I expect improvements for southern Maine.

To see how the flood unfolded on social media, go to my Twitter page. To join the conversation or report rainfall totals where you live, head over to my Facebook page and leave a comment. I'll have updates on the drought soon. 

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