Most Central Maine Power customers who lost electricity during a powerful nor’easter had it back by Wednesday night, the utility company said.

The storm, which struck late Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, packed winds gusts of over 40 mph and caused 66,800 outages, according to CMP. At its peak, there were 27,900 outages, most concentrated in coastal York and Cumberland county communities.

“We were well-prepared to respond to this event with CMP employees and contractors positioned along the coast,” Kerri Therriault, director of CMP’s Electric Operations, said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “We understand it is frustrating to be without power, especially with many Mainers still working from home and we appreciate the patience of our customers as we have worked as efficiently and safely as possible to restore power throughout the day.”

CMP’s outage central website reported that 584 customers were without power as of 8 p.m. The utility serves 650,000 customers. Versant Power, which serves northern and Down East Maine, reported 181 customers without power.

Max Jones, left, and Eden York of South Portland survey a partially sunken sailboat Wednesday afternoon near Willard Beach. The boat’s owner, Paul Visich, said it broke free of its mooring earlier in the day. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Both companies said trees and branches falling on power lines caused most of the outages. At this time of year, trees still have some leaves, making branches heavier and prone to breaking in high winds.

The nor’easter left a trail of damage in its wake. Two sailboats washed ashore on Willard Beach in South Portland, a tractor-trailer crashed on the Maine Turnpike near Exit 32 in Biddeford, causing traffic to back up for miles, and a stranded hiker in Falmouth was rescued during the storm.

One of the sailboats that broke from its mooring in South Portland got snagged on rocks a few hundred feet from the beach. That boat was tilted on its side and appeared to be taking on water, according to a video on News Center Maine’s website. The other boat ran aground on the beach. There are three marinas located within walking distance of Willard Beach, the closest being Spring Point Marina.

A tractor-trailer crashed on the Maine Turnpike in Biddeford during the storm Wednesday morning, causing traffic to back up for miles. Photo courtesy Maine State Police

Maine State Police said the tractor-trailer crashed on the turnpike around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday during driving rain and gusty winds. Southbound traffic was backed up for six miles. State police said the truck, which was traveling northbound, crashed into the median and crossed into the southbound lane before landing on its side. It was not clear whether anyone was injured.

A traffic alert posted by the Maine Turnpike Authority said the crash blocked the left and center lanes of the southbound side as well as the left lane on the northbound side of the highway. The accident caused major traffic delays until the scene was finally cleared at 2:40 p.m.

Emergency responders from the Falmouth Fire and Rescue department were called around 9:17 a.m. to rescue an injured hiker who had been walking a dog on the Presumpscot River Preserve Trail.

Fire Chief Howard Rice said crews hiked into the preserve where they used a metal litter to carry the victim to a waiting ambulance. The hiker fell and suffered an undisclosed injury, Rice said. The dog was fine. It was raining and winds were gusting at the time, producing a wind chill of 37 degrees.

Wind gusts proved to be the most dangerous feature of the storm. Most coastal communities experienced wind gusts of at least 40 mph.

The National Weather Service in Gray said a wind gust of 47 mph was recorded on the roof of Maine Medical Center in Portland at 5:45 a.m. Augusta and Rockland reported gusts of 48 mph.

The Portland International Jetport recorded a gust of 43 mph; winds in York hit 53 mph; in Sanford, 43 mph; and New Harbor in Lincoln County came in with a gust of 45 mph. The Isle of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire recorded a gust of 67 mph.

Waves break over a seawall along Beach Avenue in Kennebunk during high tide Wednesday. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The storm was leaving Maine on Wednesday night and the weather service is forecasting a partly sunny day for Thursday in Portland and mostly sunny Friday, but the forecast calls for rain to return Saturday.

Andy Pohl, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Gray, said Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm that moved up from the Mid-Atlantic states during the day.

Most of the Maine coast got about an inch of rain, he said.


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