A fallen tree on a power line in Farmingdale knocks out power Wednesday to more than 5,500 in Kennebec and Lincoln counties. Power crews expect to have power restored before the arrival of a powerful nor’easter that’s forecasted to blanket central Maine with heavy, wet snow on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Central Maine Power

AUGUSTA — Just hours before a powerful spring nor’easter was expected to sweep into Maine, more than 5,500 Central Maine Power customers in Kennebec and Lincoln counties lost power Wednesday after a tree fell on a powerline in Farmingdale.

The tree, which was outside the transmission corridor right of way, fell on to power lines around 2:30 p.m. The outage that resulted affected customers in Augusta, Chelsea, Randolph, Pittston, Whitefield and Dresden.

CMP spokesman Jonathan Breed said Wednesday that through automated switching and sectionalizing, power was restored to about 1,800 within an hour and the goal was to restore power by early evening Wednesday.

But that outage came even as crews were preparing for the likelihood of outages resulting from the incoming nor’easter, which was forecasted to dump a foot or more of heavy, wet snow across the region. CMP was deploying line crews and tree crews as well as staging equipment and resources to Fryeburg, Wiscasset and Bucksport to support the company’s regional service centers.

Up to 18 inches of snow was expected to fall across central Maine from Wednesday night through Friday morning. State and municipal governments and school districts across the region announced closures Wednesday in anticipation of the storm.

Breed said having the right equipment, material and staffing in place ahead of the storm can help power restoration efforts.

“Weather conditions are going to be hazardous on Thursday, and we ask everyone to use caution on the roads in the coming days,” he said. “When you see our crews out restoring power, please slow down and give them plenty of space to do their important work.”

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