Early Friday morning, emergency personnel worked to clear a downed spruce on Route 1 in Gouldsboro. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY LETITIA BALDWIN

High winds knock out power to thousands

ELLSWORTH — High winds snarled through Maine Thursday night, downing trees and power lines and leaving more than 115,000 homes and businesses without power across the state.

As of 10:45 a.m., Emera Maine was reporting 50,643 of its customers were without power statewide. Central Maine Power (CMP) was reporting 68,494 customers without power statewide as of 10:45 a.m., 871 of them in Hancock County.

A 5 a.m. notification from Emera showed 1,331 customers without power in Hancock County and eight in Washington County, but a live outage map showed far more, including 1,710 outages in Ellsworth alone.

Outages also were reported in Surry (680), Otis (798), Lamoine (740), Blue Hill (923), Stonington (1,183) and Hancock (1,501), as well as several towns in Washington County.

“It’s been pretty much uniformly spread along coastal communities,” said Andrew Sankey, director of the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency. “Unlike previous storms it seemed to hit all at once, everywhere.”

Schools around the region, including George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, all schools in regional school units 24 and 25, Brooksville, Brooklin and Sedgwick, delayed or canceled classes.

“Some of the schools very quickly had to delay and then close schools, which kept a lot of folks off the roads,” Sankey said.

The Halloween storm came on the heels of another windstorm two weeks earlier that also downed trees and knocked out power to thousands.

“This is the third one in a row and pretty much to exact same circumstances we’ve had,” Sankey said. “Widespread outages and downed trees.”

Sankey said he wasn’t aware of any structural damage to homes or vehicles as of yet and that there hadn’t been much flooding, despite rain that was heavy at times.

“I think one of the things that helped us is the temperatures are up — it’s unseasonably warm.

It’s going to cool off quite a bit. There were no real flooding issues this time; there were no surf issues with the westerly winds.”

A high wind watch is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday, with winds of 20 to 35 mph out of the southwest, gusting to 50 or 60 mph. Continued high winds could delay power restoration, Sankey said.

“Our concern is always after the storm,” said Sankey. “Emera and CMP — they can’t send crews up in 60-mph winds. Utility companies are saying it may be up to three days before some areas are restored.”

“People resort to using generators and candles,” Sankey continued. “We’re always worried about the consequences of improper use of that equipment.”

He reminded residents to never approach any downed lines, never leave candles alone and never to run generators indoors or in an enclosed space.

Temperatures and winds were expected to drop in the afternoon.

Sankey cautioned that the continued high winds throughout Friday morning could result in more trees and damage as the day goes on.

“The root systems and the trees are already stressed we may see more trees coming down,” he said.

He reminded residents to drive slowly around crews working and thanked the public for looking out for neighbors and for helping to keep emergency responders safe.

To see a live map of outages or for more information on when power may be restored, visit www.emeramaine.com/outages-and-restoration/ or outagemap.cmpco.com/cmp/.

Information is also available by calling 211.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Digital Media Strategist
Kate is the paper's Digital Media Strategist, responsible for all things social, and the occasional story too! She's a former reporter for the paper and can be reached at: [email protected]
Kate Cough

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