Central Maine Power workers remove branches from power lines on Cherryfield Avenue in Saco, where power was out Tuesday night after a thunderstorm. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Thousands of Mainers lost power late Tuesday afternoon when a string of powerful thunderstorms roared across the state.

Crews were able to quickly restore power to many customers, but more than 9,100 CMP customers and 500 Versant Power customers were without power late Tuesday. By7 a.m. Wednesday, 2,067 CMP customers remained without power, according to the company’s website. Most of those outages are in Kennebec County.

The storms packed a punch, knocking out power during their peak to more than 28,000 customers in territory served by Central Maine Power Company and Versant Power, which provides electricity to people in northern and eastern Maine. Versant Power was formerly known as Emera Maine.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Gray lifted a severe thunderstorm watch just before 6 p.m. The watch was to have remained in effect until 10 p.m., but meteorologist William Watson said the decision was made to remove the watch after radar showed most of the storms had begun to move offshore.

High winds knocked down trees and limbs onto power lines when the storms began entering Maine around 4 p.m. Gusts of up to 51 mph were recorded in Augusta and at Fortunes Rocks, a seaside community in Biddeford. Rockland recorded peak wind gusts of 46 mph during the storms.

Those storms left extensive damage in their wake.  As of 6 p.m., 22,236 CMP customers had lost power and 5,774 Versant Power customers lost power.

The hardest hit counties were York with 9,832 outages and Kennebec with 5,391. CMP reported that 3,983 customers in Biddeford lost power during the storms.

Versant Power said it expects to have power restored “fairly quickly” to customers in the Old Town and Orono area. Crews were able to isolate the cause of the outage to an area where a tree fell and broke two utility poles.

In a tweet Tuesday night, CMP said the storms produced powerful wind gusts that resulted in damage to transmission lines in Kennebec, Knox, Oxford and York counties.

“CMP crews and contractors are responding and restoring power as quickly and safely as possible,” CMP tweeted.


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