Springlike temperatures combined with the potential of 1 to 2 inches of rain had local officials keeping their fingers crossed Thursday hoping that the rain and snowmelt would not lead to flooding.
As of midday highway officials reported no problems beyond the pooling of water close to the curbs of some streets and highways, which is typical during rainstorms in the winter, they said.
Laconia Public Works Director Wes Anderson said there were no major problems on city streets.
He said the biggest flooding threat comes when brooks – especially Jewett Brook, which crosses Union Avenue at Busy Corner – rise far enough to the point where the storm drains back up and the water in the street has no way to run off.
But Anderson noted that the rainfall in Laconia had not been heavy enough to cause the brooks around the city to rise significantly.
As of mid-afternoon Thursday close to nine-tenths of an inch of rain had fallen at the Laconia Airport in Gilford, according to the Weather Service.
Likewise no problems were reported in Gilford or in the roads and highways in central New Hampshire maintained by the state Department of Transportation.
However, Anderson and Gilford Public Works Director Jay Hayden said they were more concerned about troubles that could occur once the temperatures drop back below freezing overnight.
“The real question is will we get enough wind to dry out the roads before it starts to freeze,” Anderson said.
Thursday’s rains came just three days after a snowstorm hit the area and just one day after bitterly cold temperatures. The U.S. Weather Service office in Gray, Maine issued a flood warning until 8 p.m. Thursday for central and southern New Hampshire, including Laconia.
Wind gusts as high as 25 mph were predicted for Thursday night, and temperatures were expected to fall back into the low 20s overnight.
State DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said Monday’s and Tuesday’s frigid temperatures complicated efforts by DOT crews to clear Sunday’s snowfall from storm drains so Thursday’s rains wouldn’t accumulated on roadways.