The state was walloped by a powerful October nor’easter once again — but central Maine has taken a pretty easy hit. 

During the storm Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Augusta, wind gusts were recorded at 25 miles per hour, according to Tom Hawley, National Weather Service hydrologist. He said there were occasional gusts up to 35 miles per hour. At 8 a.m., 0.93 inches of rain were recorded in Augusta. 

York and Cumberland counties were hit much harder. A 62-mile-per hour wind gust was recorded in Portland, Hawley said, and rainfall totaled 2.94 inches in Parsonsfield around 7 a.m.

Associated Press reported that wind gusts reached up to 90 miles per hour on Cape Cod

The storm knocked power out to more than 219,000 homes and businesses across the state. Most of those outages are in Cumberland and York counties. 

Customers reported having trouble accessing the Central Maine Power website to check on the status of outages or to report that they had lost power. For some customers, CMP said power would be restored by Jan. 1, 2068.

In Lincoln County, there were around 16,000 outages, with concentration along the coast around noon according to Casey Stevens, Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency director. Seventy to 80 roads were closed because of downed trees and power lines, he said, and nine roads were down to one lane. 

He cautioned residents about removing downed trees. 

“CMP is moving throughout to make lines safe so we can have crews go in and remove the debris,” Stevens said. “(Trees) that are left are not safe to be removed.”

In Somerset County, around 6,000 people were without power around noon, according to Michael Smith, Somerset County EMA director. 

“We had more than 30 open calls for trees and wires down this morning,” Smith said. Typically, Somerset County EMA receives 125 to 130 911 calls. 

In Kennebec County, Winthrop, which received 1.08 inches of rain, saw the most power outages, according to Sean Goodwin, Kennebec County EMA director. On Thursday morning, more than 1,000 were without power, but by noon it was down to 71.

Additionally, 262 customers  in Augusta were without power, 219 in Belgrade, 456 in Mount Vernon and 1,241 in Vassalboro around noon Thursday, Goodwin said. 

Goodwin expected most power to be restored by Thursday afternoon, with priority toward lines that affected the most people. There may be some whose power will not be restored until Friday morning, he said.

Across the region, some area schools were shut down, including the Central Lincoln County School System and Lincoln Academy. School districts such as Augusta and Waterville public schools did not have any closures. 

In Maranacook Area Schools, Wayne Elementary School, which has 68 students, was released early because of a power outage, said Donna Foster, administrative assistant. Students were bused to Maranacook High School, and when it was determined that power would not be restored in a timely manner, students were sent home.

Mt. Blue School District closed its elementary schools due to power outages, but when Mt. Blue High School lost its power at 6:40 a.m., said Superintendent Tina Meserve, the buses were already en route picking up students. 

Administrators considered sending high school students home early if the power was not restored by 11 a.m. At 10:55 a.m., it was restored, she said.

The generators do not put lights in all of the classrooms, said Meserve, so students spent time in the food court and gym.

“They were essentially networking and spending time with friends,” she said.

The worst of the storm has already moved through Maine. Hawley said the storm is weakening with time, and will move out of Maine by Friday morning. 

“You can get pretty good storms (in October),” he said, “but I wouldn’t call this typical.”

Oct. 30, 2017, another strong storm impacted the state, with more than 481,000 people losing power. That storm saw 69 miles per hour wind gusts in Portland and 3.14 inches of rain, and left thousands of people without power for days. 

Priority has been put on clearing roads, Goodwin said, and the power companies have been neutralizing debris to make it safe for towns to deploy crews to clean up debris. The EMA was funneling calls to the power companies.

“The communication (between CMP and EMA) was leaps and bounds better than the 2017 storm,” said Stevens.

As of 3:45 p.m., CMP reported 153,546 of its 646,359 customers were without power. According to Goodwin, the company brought crews in from Massachusetts to help with the restoration effort, while Smith said Emera brought in additional crews from Canada.

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