BOSTON — Another 2-3 inches of rain on top of last week's record-breaking deluge are predicted to push the Spicket, Shawsheen and Merrimack rivers up to and over flood stage, once again threatening low-lying areas in Lawrence, Andover and Methuen.

Forecasters say as much as three inches of rain are expected to fall in some areas of the state today and tomorrow, just a week after up to 10 inches fell in some regions, flooding entire neighborhoods, forcing road closures and raising rivers close to flood levels.

The heavy downpours started early today, causing water to pool on major roadways.

The National Weather service has issued a flood warning for Essex County and southern New Hampshire.

According to the National Weather Service, the Shawsheen River will reach the 7-foot flood stage by 2 a.m. Thursday, affecting low-lying areas along the river from Wilmington through Lawrence.

During the storm last week, the Shawsheen reached 10.6 feet at the measuring station in Wilmington, about an inch above the record. That caused flooding in much of Shawsheen Square in Andover and around the Route 114/495 interchange in Lawrence and North Andover.

The Spicket River, meanwhile, is supposed to reach flood stage of 8 feet at Wednesday evening.

This will lead to water backing up behind the Hampshire Road bridge at the Methuen/Salem, N.H. line.

In Lawrence, it could lead to flooding of the Willow and Myrtle streets area, as well as onto Spruce Street around the bridge.

Schofield Park could once again be inundated, and floodwaters could begin to reach onto Saratoga Street, according to the Weather Service's flood watch Web site.

During the last storm, the river reached nearly 10 feet, flooding out the same neighborhoods and forcing the evacuation of about 20 multi-family homes.

The Merrimack River is also under flood warning. As of 8 a.m. today, the river at the measuring station in Lawrence was at 17.1 feet, but is predicted to rise to at least 22.6 feet by Thursday afternoon.

Flood stage is 20 feet, meaning there could be some lowland flooding that may affect some businesses along the river that are susceptible to basement flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

In Haverhill, the river is expected to be at about 11.5 feet as of 2 p.m. today, and to rise to nearly 16 feet by Thursday morning.

Flood warnings have also been issued for the Sudbury River, the Concord River in Lowell and the Charles River in Dover.


Material from Associated Press was used in this story.

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