At least two areas in central Maine were hit hard during Sunday night’s high wind and heavy rain — including a tornado in Pleasant Ridge Plantation and macroburst in Rangeley that knocked down thousands of trees.

The weak tornado touched down in Pleasant Ridge Plantation, off Ridge Road and Rowe Pond Road, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

The highest wind was about 50 to 60 mph and the path was about 30 yards long and 20 yards wide, according to Mike Kistner, a meteorologist for the weather service.

While the tornado caused little damage, the macroburst near Rangeley downed several thousand trees on the east side of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. A macroburst is created when thunderstorms produce intense downdrafts of at least 2.5 miles in diameter that spur damaging wind at ground level.

Kistner said the width was 2.5 miles and the wind was 70 to 80 mph.

“It knocked several thousand trees down and the damage path started in Haines Landing,” said Kistner.

In addition to the Franklin County tornado, another twister left a trail of debris about 50 yards wide and 80 yards long a couple miles north of Eagle Lake in Aroostook County, according to weather service’s Caribou office.

“It was a very brief touch down — we’re talking seconds,” said Rich Norton, a meteorological intern at the National Weather Service in Caribou. “The bulk of the damage was caused by the thunderstorm. There was no structural damage.”

According to Caribou’s National Weather Service’s Facebook page, the tornado touched down along Route 11 just after 3 p.m. Trees had fallen in different directions, indicating a rotational storm, which is what made a tornado a possiblity. Wind reached about 70 mph, making it slow for a tornado, according to the weather service.

Tornado warnings were issued by the weather service around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday for southern Somerset County, eastern Franklin County, northern Aroostook County, and northern and central Penobscot County.

The weather service is still looking into other possible tornado locations, including in northern Somerset County.

The storms that hit Maine over the weekend was the tail end of the deadly Oklahoma storm from last week. The storm, which featured a number of tornados in that state, killed 18 people as of Monday.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
[email protected]

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