AUGUSTA, Maine — As the storm passed and the wind died down across Maine, utilities said they were making headway restoring power to the more than 20,000 customers who lost service earlier in the day.
Central Maine Power Co. said about 3,600 customers still had no power at 5 p.m., down from a peak of 15,000 without service at 10 a.m. CMP expects to have power restored to all customers by midnight.
Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. reported at 9:05 p.m. that 502 customers were without power, down from the nearly 13,000 outages reported before noon.
High tides hit the Down East coastline Sunday, forcing the closure of several areas in Acadia National Park and flooding low-lying areas in several communities.
Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, the Schoodic Loop Road and Sea Wall Road all were closed around 9:30 a.m. as a higher than normal tide approached. Acadia Park Ranger Jennifer Webber said, “We are closing several areas because of issues with the high tide.” She said some of the closures were temporary until after the tide ebbed, but 13 campers at Blackwoods Campground were asked to leave because of the height of the water. High tide peaked at 10:45 a.m.
“When we reopened, all 13 campers were lined up waiting to get back in,” Webber said at 3 p.m. By midafternoon, only the stairs to Thunder Hole and a gate near Otter Creek remained closed. “We basically have some trees downs and some small rocks tossed up on the roads,” she said.
Meanwhile, emergency crews dealt with broken branches, trees in the roads and downed power lines across both Hancock and Washington counties. Trees were reported down in Bar Harbor, Bucksport, Machias, Southwest Harbor and Tremont. “It appears to be worst along the coast,” a dispatcher said at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
Bangor Hydro also reported trees down in the counties it serves in central and eastern Maine and told its customers that any without service by 9 p.m. should expect to be without power overnight. CMP expects to have power restored to all customers by midnight.
At Machias, seawater backed up into the town’s stormwater system at high tide, flooding Court Street at the town office, and water freely ran over U.S. Route 1 at the dike. The parking area at the town’s public boat launch at Middle River also was flooded.
At Roque Bluffs State Park, surf pounded the beach, reaching as high as the wild rose boundary and tossing rocks across a section of the park known as Jan’s Beach.
“This is unbelievable,” Tim Jordan of Roque Bluffs said as he watched the high tide strike the beach. Wind whipped his clothing and seawater stung his face. “That wind must be at 45 knots [51 mph] at least,” he shouted into the wind.
The National Weather Service said wind gusts up to 25 mph still could be expected until early Sunday evening.
The heavy rainfall caused a rapid increase in river levels, but forecasters said the high waters were expected to subside into the evening.