A severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service was in effect for parts of Kennebec, Somerset and Waldo counties most of Thursday afternoon, as storms with high wind, rain and hail ripped through the area.

Streets were flooded and trees and wires were knocked down as the initial storm tore through northern Kennebec County just before 2 p.m. Thursday. By 5:30 p.m., storms were moving through southern Kennebec County as well as northwestern Sagadahoc County.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued throughout the afternoon for much of central Maine.

Radar showed severe thunderstorms “capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph” throughout the afternoon and early evening. The warnings said the storms could produce “damaging wind, destructive hail and deadly lightning” as well as heavy rain.

The mid- and late afternoon storms swept through the Waterville area, including Fairfield, Pittsfield, Thorndike, Skowhegan, Oakland, Clinton, Unity, Benton, Canaan, Albion, Burnham, Detroit, Freedom, Winslow, Palmyra, Troy and Montville.

More than 800 Central Maine Power Co. customers were reported without power in Kennebec, Franklin and Somerset counties at 4:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. the outages were concentrated in Somerset County, where 1,053 were without power, particulary in Fairfield, Canaan, Detroit, Palmyra, Pittsfield and Skowhegan.


The second round of storms knocked down trees across Fairfield around 5 p.m. with multiple reports to police and emergency crews.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the weather service issued a warning for south central Kennebec County, northwestern Sagadahoc and east central Androscoggin, including Gardiner, Litchfield, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Richmond, West Gardiner, Sabattus, Wales and Monmouth.

CMP spokesman Gail Rice said earlier in the afternoon power company crews were responding to outages, which likely were caused either by wind or lightning taking trees down.

“It could be either,” she said. “Most likely, it’s weather-related.”

Four trees and wires were reported down in a yard on Clinton Avenue in Winslow during the early storms, where one tree was blocking the entrance to the home. Four trees were also reported down in the area of North Reynolds and Sunfish roads in Winslow.

A Winslow fire official said at 2:50 p.m. that firefighters were handling five calls all at once and he did not have time to comment, but he said they were dealing with trees and lines down.


In downtown Waterville, rain pounded the streets accompanied by hail the size of marbles.

Traffic on Front Street by City Hall in Waterville was slowed because of gas pipeline construction on Temple Street, as well as flooding at the corner of Appleton and Front streets that sometimes occurs during rainstorms.

Power was reported out at Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street in Waterville, where people reportedly were stuck in an elevator.

Waterville police reported some lines and tree limbs down in the city, but most of those incidents occurred in rural areas outside of Waterville. Trees, limbs and wires also were reported down in the Belgrade area Thursday.

A dispatcher for Maine State Police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said just after 2:45 p.m. that she had received no reports of flooding, trees down or other weather-related issues.

At the Marketplace at Augusta mall area, a woman escaped injury when a thunderstorm around 3:30 p.m. caused her to drive off the road. Augusta firefighters and police crawled through mud to lift up Patricia Ross of Winslow after her vehicle slid off the road. Augusta Police Officer Anthony Drouin said Ross’s vision became obscured by the rainfall, and she missed a turn and drove down an embankment.


Ross was grateful not to be injured. “I’ll probably be sore tomorrow,” she said.

Later in the afternoon, firefighters in Winthrop were called to a house that was struck by lightning on Highland Avenue.

Fire Chief Dan Brooks said crews discovered the lightning had actually hit a utility pole, or the electrical service to the house, but not the house itself. Still, the jolt knocked out circuit breakers in the home and created a soft haze inside the house, so crews checked for hot spots to make sure there was no danger of fire and asked the homeowner to call an electrician. Brooks said nobody was injured.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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