Wind-Driven Rain Knocks Out Power To More Than 80,000 In Maine

Sep 30, 2020

More than 80,000 homes and businesses in Maine are without power, and the numbers aren’t expected to drop soon.

Central Maine Power spokesperson Catherine Hartnett said the company has been planning for this storm, but was still caught by surprise.

“This has been a very unusual event in that the wind has continued. It was also unusual in that despite our best planning and all our forecasts, the impacts from the wind extended much further inland than anybody would have anticipated,” she said.

CMP is reporting nearly 72,000 outages — down from a peak of about 107,000. More than 12,000 Versant customers are still without service , and the continuing winds of more than 40 mph are making it unsafe to do repairs that require workers to go up in buckets.

“But that doesn’t stop the restoration effort,” said Judy Long, communications manager for Versant. “We can still do a lot of work from the ground, we can still do a lot of assessment from the ground, but some of those repairs that require our personnel to go up in buckets, it just can’t be safely done when the winds are that strong.”

Both companies are warning that it could be days before all power is restored.

A tree limb knocked down in Wednesday morning's storm blocks a street in Portland.
Credit Ed Morin / Maine Public

Meteorologist Mike Ekster, with the National Weather Service's Gray office, says the storm was triggered by a cold front approaching from western portions of New England, and is bringing some much-needed rain to the region.

Several inches could fall in the western mountains, and about half an inch along the Midcoast. But Eckster says, given the drought conditions, any rain will be beneficial. And more rain could be coming on Friday.

The storm also prompted a gale warning until noon for parts of the Gulf of Maine, where forecasters said waves could reach heights of as much as 13 feet.

Originally published at 8:40 a.m. Sept. 30, 2020. Last updated at 4:23 p.m. Sept. 30, 2020.