Two men were killed by falling trees Monday afternoon as a storm ripped through the state, downing dozens of trees and leaving more than half of Central Maine Power customers without electricity.

Troy Olson, 40, was on the roof of his Windham home around noon trying to clear off part of a downed pine tree when a second piece of debris fell and killed him instantly, police said.

A Fairfield man, whose name has not yet been released, was killed when a fallen tree he was attempting to clear with a tractor struck him at around 3:30 p.m., police said.

The powerful storm brought heavy rain and high winds to much of the state, shutting down roads, schools and businesses. Gov. Janet Mills announced Monday evening that state offices would remained closed until noon on Tuesday as crews work to clear roads closed due to flooding and the downed trees.

“I strongly urge all Maine people to stay off the roads if possible,” Mills said in a statement. “If you must travel, please exercise caution and be sure to provide plenty of room for emergency first responders and for crews that are restoring power and clearing roadways. We will continue to closely monitor the impact of the storm overnight, and we urge folks to stay vigilant and safe.”

Though forecasters said winds and rain had begun to slow in most parts of the state by Monday evening, hundreds of thousands of Mainers may need to wait for power. CMP spokesman Jon Breed said it is not possible to accurately predict restoration timelines and that outages could last days for some customers because repair crews can’t go up in buckets until wind speeds drop below 30 mph.


Gusts in Portland continued to blow between 30 and 40 mph as of 6:30 p.m, according to Mike Cempa of the National Weather Service.

Monday’s high temperature of 59 degrees in Portland was the highest ever recorded in the city on Dec. 18, Cempa said. The warm temperatures helped shape the storm – not only did the warmth mean Maine saw rainfall instead of snow, but it may have increased the amount of precipitation because warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air.

CMP reported more than 325,000 customers without power as of 6 a.m., including more than 56,000 in Cumberland County, 67,000 in Kennebec County and more than 38,000 in York County.

Versant Power, which serves northern and eastern Maine, reported more than 91,000 customers impacted by outages as of 6 a.m., a number that steadily increased Monday as the storm moved across the state.

“I think it’s safe to say this is a multiday restoration effort based on the severity of this,” Breed said in a phone interview. “There is a lot of debris out there already.”

He compared the storm to the one last Christmas that left 300,000 customers in the dark for three days. CMP is receiving hundreds of calls about fallen trees and downed wires and will prioritize restoring power to the most populated areas first, Breed said.


Some customers have reported receiving incorrect text messages from CMP saying that power was restored when it had not been. Breed said it’s part of an information technology problem the utility is resolving.

Source: Central Maine Power

He said that because of the high winds, most of the 380 crews couldn’t go up in buckets Monday to reattach downed lines so they spent the day clearing debris, trimming limbs and assessing the damage.

Breed said CMP is getting help from outside Maine, including from other Avangrid companies (of which CMP is a subsidiary) and many others will come from other Northeastern states not affected by the storm.

When full restoration work begins, the company will have as many as 525 line worker crews on hand, including 425 from out of state. A crew includes two line workers and a truck. In addition, tree cutting crews – from as far away as Ohio – will be boosted to 350 from 200 by Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service in Gray reported that wind gusts reached 60 mph Monday morning, especially along the coast. Winds slowed throughout the day, but gusts could continue to top 30 mph through the night, slowing efforts to repair downed lines.

The Portland International Jetport received just over 2 inches of rain as of 6 p.m., a couple of hours before the storm was projected to leave the city, Cempa said.



Inland Maine and New Hampshire have been hit much harder – New Gloucester reported over 5.3 inches of rain, and as of Monday evening the mountains of western Maine continued to see widespread road closures due to flooding and downed trees, even as reports of closures in most of the state began to diminish.

A powerful storm knocked several trees down in Augusta’s Capitol Park on Monday. More than 23,000 were without power in central Maine by midmorning. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It’s bad up there,” said Cempa, the weather service meteorologist. “We heard that all the roads into Sunday River were flooded and shut down.”

The ski resort will remain closed Tuesday as staff assess damage caused by 5 inches of rain, its website said.

Vanessa Corson, spokesperson for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said state officials are in regular contact with the county EMAs, the state’s major utilities, Maine DOT and other state partners.

“We urge anyone traveling to adhere to the precautions issued by Maine DOT about hydroplaning; slow down, avoid puddles, maintain distance between the vehicle in front of you, and stay centered in your lane,” she said.


According to social media posts shared by the Maine State Police, high winds blew the roof off a tractor trailer traveling northbound on I-95 near Clinton on Monday afternoon. A spokeswoman for the department said there have been relatively few highway accidents during the storm, apparently because most drivers have traveled at low speeds.

Mills announced that all state offices would close at 1 p.m.

“With the storm expected to grow stronger in the coming hours, I encourage all Maine people to be safe and vigilant and to exercise caution when traveling, Mills said in a statement.

In Augusta, the wind twisted the scaffolding off the Burton M. Cross state office building on Sewall Street.

Stacey Morrison, chief executive officer of Ganneston Construction, said no one was injured. The company is in the process of developing a demolition plan to bring down the scaffolding safely.

Some schools prepared to dismiss students early because their buildings lost power, including Mildred L. Day Elementary in Arundel and all schools in Brunswick.


Nearly 3,000 cruise ship passengers who had been set to sail to the Bahamas will instead visit Portland this Wednesday due to the storm, according to a Portland city spokesperson. The MSC Meraviglia will make its unusual offseason stop on its way to New Brunswick after the cruise line decided this week it was unsafe to sail south directly into the storm.

More than 5 inches of rain had fallen in parts of New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania by midmorning, and parts in several other states got more than 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts reached nearly 70 mph along the southern New England shoreline.

Power was knocked out for more than 600,000 customers in an area stretching from Virginia north through New England.

The weather service issued flood and flash flood warnings for New York City and the surrounding area, parts of Pennsylvania, upstate New York, western Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and parts of New Hampshire and Maine.

Trees and power lines fell in many areas, including some that landed on homes and cars. In the coastal town of Guilford, Connecticut, about 30 miles south of Hartford, a tree fell on a police cruiser but the officer escaped injury, officials said. Certain roads throughout the region were closed due to flooding or downed trees.



Many flights were canceled or delayed across the region, including at the Portland International Jetport. Boston’s Logan International Airport grounded all flights Monday morning because of the poor conditions, leading to more than 100 canceled flights and about 375 delays, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware. At New York City area airports, nearly 80 flights were canceled and more than 90 were delayed.

Some schools in the Northeast closed or delayed their openings, and commuter rail systems were reporting weather-related delays.

In South Carolina on Sunday, the tide in Charleston Harbor reached 9.86 feet just before noon, which was the fourth-highest reading ever.

Monday’s rain and wind came a week after a storm caused flooding and power outages in the Northeast after spawning deadly tornadoes in Tennessee.

A fallen tree blocks Woodman Hill Road in Minot on Monday during a strong rain and wind storm. A Maine DOT truck blocks traffic. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The latest National Climate Assessment shows that Maine continues to see increasing precipitation due to climate change. The number of extreme rain and snow events has increased 62% in the Northeast, the largest increase in the nation.

“There is something to be said about the frequency of events like this in the future,” Palmer said. “Research does show that these warm, heavy rain events could happen more often in winter.”


Staff Writer Stephen Singer contributed to this report. 

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