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Maine slogs through wet May, June

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Federal Emergency Management Agency prepared to close its disaster center in southern Maine as more rain added to the misery for those who've suffered through one of the rainiest stretches of weather in recent memory.

"We are just in this horrible pattern. It looks like it will last at least through next week," said Tim Hawley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

May went down in the record books as the rainiest May and the fifth-rainiest month since records were kept in Portland. As of Friday, it had rained every day in June except for one in Portland, according to the weather service.

The rain was due to a weather system that has been stuck over the Northeast for the past six weeks, said Hawley. Rain or showers were expected through Sunday, with no sustained sunshine in the forecast through most of next week.

Despite the continued rain, there has been nothing along the lines of the deluge that flooded York County last month, forcing the evacuation of 500 homes and causing millions of dollars of damage.

FEMA set up a disaster center at the York County Community College after President Bush made a formal disaster declaration.

FEMA, which has received more than 620 applications in Maine, planned to shut down the center effective at 6 p.m. Saturday. But Mainers can still apply for assistance online or by calling a toll-free number.

The rain has caused problems even for those who weren't flooded. Gardens have been ruined, graduation parties have been washed out, painters have been kept indoors, and landscapers and pavers have fallen behind on projects.

Sports schedules are so far off kilter in southern Maine with washed-out games that they may never get back to normal.

"This has been a nightmare," said Gordie Salls, Sanford High School athletic director. As of Thursday, he had rescheduled 82 games for Sanford's middle school and high school teams.

Bill Bamford, manager of the Maxwell's Farm in Cape Elizabeth, said he is still recovering from last year's cold soggy May. Now June's deluge has ruined his planting schedule for the second year in a row.

Wedding planners said they are having to soothe the nerves of jittery June brides who see nothing in the forecast but rain and more rain.

"We are trying to keep our people calm," said Jim Ciampi, owner of City Side Events, a Portland wedding and social event planning company.

Those planning weddings, graduation parties or other outdoor events had to hope for sunny skies, because tents and canopies were in short supply.

"Every other phone call is for canopies," said Tammy Haskell, manager of the One Stop Party Shoppe in South Portland.