U.S. Geological Survey

Open-File Report 2005-1176—ONLINE ONLY

Flooding of the Androscoggin River during December 18-19, 2003, in Canton, Maine

By Robert W. Dudley


In cooperation with the
Federal Emergency Management Agency


This report is available as a pdf.



The Androscoggin River flooded the town of Canton, Maine in December 2003, resulting in damage to and (or) evacuation of 44 homes. Streamflow records at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow-gaging stations at Rumford (USGS station identification number 01054500) and Auburn (01059000) were used to estimate the peak streamflow for the Androscoggin in the town of Canton for this flood (December 18-19, 2003). The estimated peak flood streamflow at Canton was approximately 39,800 ft3/s, corresponding to an estimated recurrence interval of 4.4 years; however, an ice jam downstream from Canton Point on December 18-19 obstructed river flow resulting in a high-water elevation commensurate with an open-water flood approximately equal to a 15-year event. The high water-surface elevations attained during the December 18-19 flood event in Canton were higher than the expected open-water flood water-surface elevations; this verified the assumption that the water-surface elevation was augmented due to the downstream ice jam

The change in slope of the riverbed from upstream of Canton to the impoundment at the downstream corporate limits, and the river bend near Stevens Island are principal factors in ice-jam formation near Canton. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ice Jam Database indicates five ice-jam-related floods (including December 2003) for the town of Canton: March 13, 1936; January 1978; March 12, 1987; January 29, 1996; and December 18-19, 2003. There have been more ice-jam-related flood events in Canton than these five documented events, but the exact number and nature of ice jams in Canton cannot be determined without further research.





Flooding of the Androscoggin River during December 18-19, 2003, in Canton, Maine

References Cited

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