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Flood waters strand cars and wash out city roads in Portland

PORTLAND (WGME) -- The storm brought torrential rains to the area, about six inches of water in a very short amount of time and it was more than most drains could handle.

In greater Portland, the hardest hit area, motorists were trapped in the rising waters and homes and apartment buildings were flooded.

Portland's Emergency Dispatch Center says they received over 100 water related calls.

Wednesday night crews were busy responding to residences, flooded streets, and even places like City Hall flooded.

Tim Nangle, Portland Fire Department, says: What happened really was we got so much rain in such a small period of time at one point we had 40 flooded basements that we were still waiting to free up units to respond to.

Inches of rain in just hours keeping Portland first responders busy round the clock.

Nangle says in total they responded to almost 80 flooded basements, evacuating 8 buildings across the city, including 200 people in the La Quinta Inn.

The heavy rain taking its toll on the streets too, leaving cars stranded, manhole covers popped of, forcing first responders to barricade roads.

Nangle hopes residents take last night as a reminder that driving through flooded roads is never safe.

Nagle says: We had to evacuate people from in three different cars that were stranded in high waters. No amount of water is safe to drive through you have no idea how the road has been undermined or how much water is there its just never a good idea.

Thankfully all the water that did come down did recede quickly.  

Allowing all of Portlands roads to open and operate normally on Thursday.

However, for many residences and businesses flooded, crews say the cleanup will take days.

It's been a nightmare for property owners.

Many are salvaging what they can as they clean-up.

Several businesses on Broadway are closed Thursday and will be Friday, too.

A doctor at Harbor View Optical says there was 4 inches of water inside the building, a lot of the furniture had to be moved outside and because of all this, 60 appointments had to be cancelled.
 
None of the owners wanted to go on-camera and some say they're just too emotional with their livelihood at stake.

Just hours after water filled the six-thousand square foot space, rising 3 inches off the ground.

Across the street, clean-up is costing a new restaurant it's opening night, setting the date back by three weeks.

From businesses to apartments cleaning crews can't stop to catch their breath.

Anne Clark says it was 9:30 Wednesday night when water started rushing inside her Johansen Street condo.

She and her neighbors called the fire department for help.

Clark says: 45 minutes later, they're banging on the door saying you need to evacuate now. I couldn't get out my door. The water was up higher outside than it was inside.

Six residents forced to find another place to sleep.

Clark hopes with a little effort she'll be able to stay at home Thursday night.

A lot of people are waiting for insurance to come check things out.

Wednesday night's storm dropped more than six inches of rain in Portland.  The flash flood waters rushed over roads throughout the city, stranding drivers.

The water stalled cars along Park Avenue and Outer Congress Street.  Tow crews spent several hours early Thursday morning removing the vehicles in time for the morning commute.  

All of these vehicles stalled in the water last night and became stranded in the roadway.  

Christina Barter, of Wiscasset, got caught in the flood waters.  She says she couldn't believe what she saw when she turned onto Park Avenue.

"There were cars coming at me from every direction, sidewalks, crosswalks, and I just said, 'I got to get out of this situation', so I pulled off into a hotel parking lot to seek some shelter.  And I jumped out of my car before it got totally engulfed," said Barter.

Portland dispatch tells CBS 13 it was difficult to get enough tow truck drivers to the area of Park Avenue, because so many cars throughout the city were stranded.