BELGRADE — The serenity of this quaint lake community dissipated very quickly as a powerful storm Wednesday afternoon brought down dozens of trees and some power lines, damaging properties across the village.

“It was so fast you almost didn’t realize it happened,” Laura Richter said outside her newly-renovated home, which was damaged by a toppled tree.

Likely weather-induced power outages occurred across central Maine as strong wind gusts and thunderstorms roared through the region.

As of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Central Maine Power reported nearly 1,800 outages in Kennebec County, including 1,071 in Belgrade, 380 in Rome and 270 in China. By 9 a.m. Thursday, that number had been reduced down to about 300 still without power in the county, with most of those in Belgrade.

CMP spokesperson Emily Spencer said the outages are “all likely related to the heavy wind, rain and thunderstorms we’re having right now.”

The storm caused significant damage in Belgrade, where trees came toppling down across roads throughout the town.

A carpenter tightens up Laura Richter’s house after a tree fell on it during a powerful storm on Main Street in Belgrade on Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

A large tree with lights in the village green snapped just days before a concert series commenced. Debris lined Main Street two hours after the storm, with a tree worker saying they’d be in for a long night.

The iconic Day’s Store in Belgrade Lakes suffered some roof damage. Power was out for three hours and three trees in the back fell.

A line worker for Central Maine Power moves a transformer from the middle of Main Street in Belgrade on Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Joey Charles, an employee, said what started as a “classic” Maine summer storm quickly intensified.

“It was so crazy. You could see the thunder and hear it, and the building was shaking,” he said. “You just heard, ‘crack, crack, crack.’”

Richter had sat on her front stoop to watch the storm, but quickly bolted for the basement when it came. A tree damaged her roof. Debris coated her front yard.

“I can’t even come up with a big story because it happened so fast,” she said.

The stormy weather comes at the tail-end of a three-day heat wave in which temperatures reached up into the 90s. The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in a handful of counties, including Franklin, Kennebec and Somerset, until 7 p.m. Wednesday. There were reports of downed trees in Belgrade and hail in China.

Partially-submerged docks are seen in Belgrade Wednesday after intense storms blew through the region. Photo by Carol Labbe

As the weather fronts moved in, temperatures nosedived by 10-15 degrees in some areas.

“Generally we’re expecting continued scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of them locally severe through the evening,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Hunter Tubbs said Wednesday late afternoon. “Overnight the possibility of severe (weather) will decrease.”


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