Liz Grady and her dog take shelter Tuesday beneath an umbrella during a downpour in Gardiner. Heavy rain and wind passed through the state, with more moderate temperatures arriving for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Thousands of people across the state lost power as a storm system Tuesday brought heavy rains and wind gusts in excess of 50 mph in some places.

More than 2,700 Central Maine Power Co. customers were without electricity in Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin counties during a storm that started as snow in the mountains and turned to rain.

The National Weather Service in Gray described the storm as relatively strong, though not significant.

“It’s not atypical that we can get a strong area low pressure that can bring several inches of snow,” NWS meteorologist Derek Schroeter said. “We generally see at least one snow event in April.”

Schroeter said Franklin County got nearly an inch of snow before it turned to rain, receiving a half-inch to a three-quarter inch of rain by mid afternoon Tuesday. Augusta saw 0.79 inches of rain and Waterville about a half-inch.

“Winds with this storm brought gusts of 57 mph up in Rangeley,” Schroeter said.

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The year-to-date rainfall in Augusta, not including totals from Tuesday’s storm, was 10.51 inches, according to Schroeter, who said the normal amount is 10.41.

“So we’re pretty much right on normal for precipitation so far this year,” he said. “We have been raining a bit above normal since March 1, with 6.55 inches since then in Augusta.”

A man carries an umbrella Tuesday while walking along rain-soaked streets in downtown Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

CMP’s website listed 1,446 customers without power in Franklin County at mid-afternoon; 350 without power in Kennebec County; 882 in Somerset County; and 94 in Waldo County. Much farther south in Cumberland County, 3,128 customers were without power.

Manchester Deputy Town Clerk Deanna Hallett said two people came into the Town Office on Tuesday and reported storm-related incidents, with one of them saying a tree came down on Summer Haven Road.

The lights at the Town Office flickered, she said, but did not go out. In Dresden, where residents lose power frequently, Tuesday was no exception. Dresden Town Manager Daniel Swain said those on the Richmond power grid lost power due to high winds, but those on the Wiscasset and Alna power grids had not lost power as of midday Tuesday.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I actually live in Skowhegan, and when I started driving this morning, it was a blizzard, then I drove to Fairfield and there was sleet. Augusta had rain, and now, here in Dresden, there is wind. It’s the Maine weather.”

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In Waterville, Deputy police Chief Bill Bonney said no major storm-related incidents were reported.

“We’ve had some branches down and a couple of wires down in towns we dispatch for, but nothing major,” Bonney said.

Skowhegan and Somerset County officials said they had no storm-related incidents to report.

The town of New Harbor, on the coast, reported wind gusts of 59 mph, according to Schroeter. Winds at the Portland International Jetport gusted at 52 mph, he said.

He said reports of downed trees knocking out power and blocking roads came more from the area of northern New Hampshire and the White Mountains.

Tuesday’s storm materialized pretty much as predicted, according to Schroeter.

“We issued a wind advisory along the Maine coast and northern New Hampshire and western Maine mountains for wind gust greater than 46 mph, and that’s kind of what’s happened,” he said.

Schroeter later added that, “We’re not really seeing much in the way of significant warmups, but we should be seeing mostly dry weather and highs in the 50s Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

Kennebec Journal reporter Emily Duggan contributed to this report.


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