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Flood watch and rain follow day of near-record temperatures

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 14. 2014 9:12PM

Despite temperatures reaching the high 70s, it was no gentle spring afternoon Monday in New Hampshire.

Gusting wind knocked down power lines and fueled brush fires across the Granite State in a prelude to a stormy week and perhaps a bit of snow in some northern areas.

The National Weather Service said today’s storm will bring up to two inches of rain in southern New Hampshire, which was included in a flood watch issued Monday night as the warm temperatures led to high water levels in rivers and streams.

“Warm temperatures helped to melt a lot of the remaining snow in the White Mountains,” said Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Flooding is expected along rivers including the Connecticut and in urban areas where drainage can’t keep up with the volume of rain.

Curtis said the rain is expected to turn to light snow in the North Country as the cold front drives temperatures below freezing — just a day after parts of the state approached record highs.

Curtis said Concord’s high of 79 degrees was the warmest of this year and slightly off the record of 84 degrees. Portsmouth, Nashua and Manchester each saw high temperatures of 78.

“It’s not quite there yet, but certainly much warmer than we’ve seen,” Curtis said.

It was warm, but quite windy and the conditions kept firefighters and power crews busy.

Brush fires have been common in the past week or two as leaves on forest floors have dried enough to be quite flammable. On Monday, the conditions were worse, with wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph whipping up the flames in scattered brush fires in areas including Concord, Dunbarton, Deering and Dover.

Curtis said brush fires are common for this time of year and usually lessen once trees start to leaf out.

The wind also caused scattered power outages when gusts were strong enough to knock down power lines.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported about 100 customers in the Deering area without power Monday evening. Earlier in the day, PSNH crews worked to restore electricity and repair downed lines in Hooksett and Candia.

According to a PSNH outage map, 297 Hooksett households and another 984 in Candia were without power shortly before noon. Electricity was restored by 2 p.m.

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