Powerful Winds Buffet New England, Knock Out Power in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — A powerful storm with gusts topping 60 mph swept across coastal New England, knocking out electricity for more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Maine, officials said Tuesday.

Maine recorded gusts of 63 mph (101 kph) in Cape Elizabeth, 61 mph (98 kph) in Eastport and 58 mph (93 kph) in Bangor, the National Weather Service said. Readings topped 50 mph across coastal New England.

Utility crews focused Monday night on ensuring downed lines and debris were cleared from the streets, but the restoration was underway in earnest with hundreds of workers from as far away as New Jersey and New Brunswick, Canada, fanning out on Tuesday.

“We are focused on restoring as many customers as we can today, as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Kerri Therriault, director of electric operations for Central Maine Power.

In Portland, the storm produced a light show for the city when a 7,200-volt power line came down on the city’s West End, with the live wire and ensuing fire causing a handful of evacuations, officials said. The storm also knocked out the 911 emergency communication system for a time.

By late Tuesday morning, Central Maine Power was reporting about 57,000 power outages, and Versant Power had about 12,000 power outages.

The storm was caused by a low pressure system to the west, and rain fell steadily on Monday with winds building in the evening.

More than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain fell in some locations, meteorologist Mike Cempa said. A daily record for rainfall was set in Concord, New Hampshire, with nearly 1.5 inches (4 centimeters).

There was enough rain that flood watches were posted for rivers and streams in parts of the state.

About the photo: A crew from New Brunswick, Canada, works to restore power following a severe rain storm, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Brunswick, Maine. The storm knocked out power to more than 100,000 electricity customers in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)