A worker with the town of Winslow tries to clear a drain Friday on China Road at the intersection with Bay Street and Augusta Road in front of Cumberland Farms as heavy rain floods the area. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The massive winter storm that has rolled across the U.S. moved into central Maine on Friday with heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 65 mph that knocked out power to thousands of people.

The storm was expected to tighten its grip on the state in the evening hours as winds were forecast to continue lashing the region and temperatures dropping into the teens, according to the National Weather Service. The wind chill was expected to push those temperatures down into single digits. Much of central Maine was expected to receive 2 to 3 inches of rain through Friday evening.

Central Maine Power Co. reported more than 150,000 customers were without electricity by mid afternoon Friday. Some 13,000 of those customers were in Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Art True, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, said reports of damage to property or roadways “seems minor to moderate at this point.” He said his agency received several reports of minor flooding in roadways, mainly from streams.

He said a tree fell on a Hallowell home but had no details on the extent of the damage. Roads in the region have been closed due to flooding, he said.

William Bonney, Waterville’s acting police chief, said he’s had reports of “numerous wind-related issues” such as trees down on wires and some street signs blowing over in the South End of Waterville. He said some homeless people living near the Hathaway Creative Center, adjacent to the Kennebec River, were moved to a shelter.


Waterville’s director of Public Works, Matt Skehan, said work crews earlier in the week cleared catch basins of debris to make sure water was draining ahead of the freezing temperatures that will settle over the region in the coming days.

“Our biggest concern was the flash freeze as well as the wind,” Skehan said.

A worker with the town of Winslow on Friday tries to clear a drain on China Road at the intersection with Bay Street and Augusta Road in front of Cumberland Farms as heavy rain floods the area. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

He said his department was bracing for impact, particularly fallen trees and limbs. “Our chainsaws are all sharpened and ready to go,” he said.

There was flooding in parts of Winslow, such as at the intersection of Bay Street and China Road where floodwaters were creeping up to the Cumberland Farms store there.

Mike Smith, director of the Somerset County Emergency Management Agency, said there was a spike in residents losing power Friday afternoon, with CMP reporting that the number stood at 3,000 by 4 p.m. Smith said trees falling on power lines was a primary reason for outages. One outage on Main Street in Pittsfield wiped out power to 900 customers, he said.

He said he was told by CMP that it’ll be a “multi-day restoration” to fix all the damage brought by the storm.

CMP issued a statement Friday saying hundreds of CMP and contracted line crews were spread across the company’s service area to restore power and clear roads. The utility said it also has 50 trucks that will be used to replace broken utility poles.

About 60% of the U.S. population, or 200 million people, had been exposed in the last few days to some sort of winter weather warning, The Associated Press reported.

The National Weather Service said in a statement that its weather map Friday “depicts one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever.”

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