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Strong October Nor'easter Knocks Out Power To More Than 200K In Maine

A strong October nor’easter packing high winds and heavy rain has knocked out power to tens of thousands of Maine households and businesses.As of about 4:00 p.m., Central Maine Power was reporting 153,000 outages. Emera Maine was reporting nearly 28,000 customers in the dark.

Gusts of up to 60 miles an hour and beyond have been reported. Several schools delayed the start of classes, or closed for the day.

Credit Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public
Maine Public
A broken tree limb in Portland narrowly misses landing on a car.

Central Maine Power spokeswoman Catherine Hartnett said Thursday morning that work crews were dispatched in anticipation of the storm.  She says York and Cumberland Counties bore the brunt of the outages early Thursday morning.  

"In two hours it went from 60,000 to over 100,000, so we don't have any estimates of restoration right now," Hartnett says. "We are still dealing with the effects of an intense storm, and as we can assess the damage and begin the restoration we will begin posting restoration estimates on our website."

Credit Keith Shortall / Maine Public
Maine Public
A tree lies across Neal Street in Portland Thursday morning, in the wake of a strong nor'easter.

Art Cleaves, of the York County Emergency Management agency, told WMTW-TV that several roads in Maine’s southern-most county were closed, due to downed trees and power lines. Cleaves urged travelers to take extra precautions.

The storm hit hard in the coastal town of Falmouth. Fire Chief Howard Rice said calls started coming in around 2:30 in the morning with reports of trees down and live wires on the ground. Two cars were crushed by falling trees, he said, but no injuries were reported.

Credit Patty Wight / Maine Public
Maine Public
Broken tree limbs lie on a road in Freeport Thursday morning.

Falmouth resident Julia Morris said a tree came through her window at 2:30 in the morning. The tree took down part of her gutter system, she said, but she's "taking it in stride."

Rice said debris unleashed by the storm forced so many road closures that Falmouth officials ran out of barricades. 

The Falmouth harbormaster said more than a dozen boats were off their moorings in Casco Bay between Portland and Falmouth.

Forecasters say the rain is expected to taper off west to east today and overnight, but it will remain windy.

Updated at Oct. 17, 2019 at 9:42 a.m.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.