More than 6 inches of rain fell on parts of Gouldsboro in less than two hours on the morning of June 9, 2021, washing out the culverts under the road between Prospect Harbor and Birch Harbor. Looking back in time, this was an unusual event. But it will be less unusual in the years to come. According to the 2020 Update of Maine’s Climate Future, annual precipitation in Maine has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Most of this increase is due to heavy, intense precipitation events.
For Gouldsboro, with its diverse terrain that ranges from steep ridges to large saltmarshes, larger, more frequent storms have the potential to overwhelm town infrastructure, much of which was built years ago for a different climate. This is especially true along the shore, where intense storms include strong winds. As sea level continues to rise, the combination of a fierce storm with lots of rain and strong winds at high tide can do significant damage. Gouldsboro’s Shore and Storm Project supports the town in identifying locations and infrastructure that are most at risk and planning action to reduce those risks.