Gusty winds, hard rain and ocean swells of more than 9 feet caused damage in midcoast and Down East Maine on Sunday morning. Trees toppled, there was minor flooding and a lobster boat sank at the Searsport town wharf, but there were no reports of injury.
The storm blew in Saturday night with winds gusting 40 to 50 mph and some higher off the coast. The National Weather Service reported rainfall amounts from around an inch to more than 3 inches in some mountain areas.
By daybreak, crews were responding to calls of trees down across roadways and downed utility wires, some of them on fire.
Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. reported 7,520 power outages due to heavy wind and rain Sunday morning, many along the coast and inland into Penobscot County. In Hancock County, 4,494 outages were reported; 2,583 were reported in Penobscot County, 430 in Piscataquis County and 13 in Washington County.
By late Sunday afternoon, 1,513 customers remained without electricity, most of them in Hancock County. Power was expected to be restored overnight Sunday or on Monday.
Bangor Hydro crews reported extensive tree damage throughout the affected area, which included Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Clifton, Corinth, Dedham, Ellsworth and Deer Isle.
Downed trees and lines made some areas difficult for crews to reach, which was slowing restoration efforts, and Bangor Hydro crews reported minor flooding in some areas.
Central Maine Power reported peak outages at 9 a.m. Sunday when approximately 7,400 customers were without power. By 2 p.m. Sunday, crews had restored power to all but 2,400 of those customers. Of the remaining outages, 1,100 were in the company’s Rockland service area, which includes the midcoast area from Warren east to Penobscot.
In Bar Harbor, a large pine tree dropped across Route 3 tangling power lines and blocking most of the roadway. Cars were rerouted around the area for more than two hours around midday Sunday while crews repaired the wires.
The storm drew sightseers to the coastline to watch the wind-driven surf.
Searsport Town Manager James Gilway said the town’s Fire Department was opened as a warming center for any residents who were without power or heat for extended periods. As of noon Sunday, no one needed the service.
Gilway also said a lobster boat, the Martha Joan, broke loose from its mooring and drifted onto rocks at the town’s dock.
“It went down but was salvaged,” he said. The boat was recovered by pulling it up on the town’s boat ramp. “It had a huge hole in its keel,” Gilway said.
The U.S. Coast Guard station at Rockland was airing bulletins for most of the night about a boat that had drifted loose from its mooring, but by Sunday morning the boat had been found and hauled ashore.
In Camden Harbor, Willard Wight of Willey Wharf said, “The boats are bouncing around and we just had a real downpour.” Wight said most pleasure craft were put up for winter but about a dozen boats were still in the inner harbor. “It’s kind of rough out there but I’ve heard nothing about any damage yet.”
Waldo County dispatchers reported no flooding.
Somerset County Communications Center Dispatcher Valerie Burbank said she received a number of calls Sunday morning from angry supporters of the presidential candidates, saying their political signs had been stolen.
“They called from St. Albans about their McCain-Palin signs, and I told them they blew away,” Burbank said. “I told them that the Obama signs blew away in Athens, too.”
There was minor flooding in Somerset County, mostly from leaves clogging storm drains.
In Aroostook County, heavy rain and gusty winds were the story Sunday.
“So far, we’re just seeing moderate to heavy rain with some gusty winds,” Rich Norton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Caribou, said Sunday afternoon. “We haven’t received any reports of trees down or power outages so far.”
A peak wind of 44 mph was recorded in Houlton, according to Norton, with a high wind of 36 mph recorded in Caribou. Wind speeds of 32 mph were recorded in Presque Isle.
Winds were expected to gust Sunday as high as 49 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou.
The Weather Service issued an urban and small-stream flood advisory Sunday morning until noon for poor drainage areas in Penobscot County near Bangor, Old Town, Newport, Millinocket, Lincoln, Howland, Dexter and areas of Piscataquis County including Guilford, Greenville, Dover-Foxcroft and Brownville Junction.
Skies were forecast to clear overnight Sunday, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s predicted for today.
BDN reporters Jessica Bloch in Bangor, Sharon Kiley Mack in Pittsfield, Rich Hewitt in Ellsworth and Jen Lynds in Houlton contributed to this report.