High winds knocked down limbs and power lines across the state Friday, closing schools and putting emergency crews to work early across central Maine.

The National Weather Service in Gray placed areas of central, southern and western Maine under a wind advisory from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The weather service said winds would run southwest and reach speeds for 20 to 30 mph and produce gusts of 55 mph.

Meanwhile, the wind gusts knocked down tree limbs across the region starting Thursday night into Friday morning, cutting power to thousands of people.

In Monmouth, firefighters, tree workers and Central Maine Power crews responded to a fallen tree on Route 135 that damaged power lines.

By early Friday afternoon, Central Maine Power reported more than 81,000 of its 646,000 customers were without power across the state. Of those reported outages, Kennebec County had 7,667, Somerset County had 8,040 and Franklin County had 1,897.

Regional School Unit 2, which includes schools in Richmond, Dresden, Monmouth, Hallowell and Farmingdale, announced it would close school Friday due to “multiple power outages.”

In a news release Friday, CMP said the total number of power outages could go up if strong wind gusts persisted Friday. The company said it retained nearly 125 contractor crews to work with the 97 CMP employee line crews for the storm’s initial response, and that there were 60 crews joining the restoration effort from Canada.

“Unlike the recent Nor’easter which was primarily a coastal event, this wind has caused outages across the CMP service territory,” said Kevin Elwell, director of Electric Distribution for CMP. “We had prepositioned crews appropriately to be able to address the need for road clearing before dawn.”


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