Third tornado confirmed in Aroostook County

Fifteen-year-old Cody Crocker rides his bicycle past an
Enfield Road house in Lincoln that a tree has fallen onto on Friday,
June 10, 2011. Lincoln got hammered by high winds and sudden squalls overnight Thursday.
Fifteen-year-old Cody Crocker rides his bicycle past an Enfield Road house in Lincoln that a tree has fallen onto on Friday, June 10, 2011. Lincoln got hammered by high winds and sudden squalls overnight Thursday.
Posted June 10, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.
Last modified June 10, 2011, at 8:48 p.m.

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The National Weather Service confirmed Friday that two more tornadoes hit Aroostook County, bringing the total to three over a two-day period that saw severe thunderstorms downing trees and causing power outages through parts of northern and eastern Maine.

No injuries or fatalities were reported in connection with the tornadoes, two of which struck Wednesday and one Thursday.

The first tornado on Wednesday struck a mile east-southeast of Little Madawaska Lake approximately 6:22 p.m. and bounced along the ground a total of about 10 miles before ending about four miles northwest of the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, according to the weather service.

Late Friday afternoon, the weather service issued a report confirming that another tornado had touched down at about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday about 7 miles northeast of Ashland. Its path was about 50 yards wide and a quarter-mile long with damage limited to trees.

The tornado that touched down Thursday struck two miles northeast of Fort Fairfield. It reportedly struck at about 4:10 p.m. with winds between 65 and 85 mph and also gouged a path about 50 yards wide over a quarter of a mile.

A meteorologist at the weather service office in Caribou said Friday night that high wind damage still was being assessed in some parts of northern and eastern Maine, but that the three confirmed tornadoes in Aroostook County were the only ones that had been suspected in the region.

Thursday’s storm brought more thunder, lightning and heavy rain to much of the region.

A number of roads in Caribou were flooded and a rock wall that surrounded a yard collapsed in the Washington Street area.

Streets in Fort Fairfield were waterlogged from the heavy rain. Minor flooding also was reported in Caswell.

Amy Lawrence, who lives in Ashland, said that several trees in the area were felled by the storm.

“My husband forgot to secure our garbage cans, and the last I saw they were blowing down the street,” she said Friday. “I bet we’ll never see those again.”

Trees also were down along McNamee Road in Fort Fairfield.

Scattered power outages were reported in central Aroostook County. Classes at Northern Maine Community College were canceled Thursday night because the campus lost power.

Meanwhile, Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. reported that 2,268 customers, mostly in northern Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, were still without power at 11 a.m. Friday in the wake of Thursday’s storm. All but about 300 had power restored by early evening.

Especially hard-hit late Thursday and early Friday was the Milo area, according to Town Manager Jeff Gahagan. He said the high winds and heavy rain snapped a lot of branches which caused numerous power outages, some of which continued late Friday afternoon.

“Quite a few of the power lines pulled away from houses,” he said.

Milo firefighters and public works employees worked Thursday evening and Friday to clean up the remaining debris. The town was waiting for Bangor Hydro to finish its work, he said Friday evening.

In Penobscot County, Lincoln Town Manager Lisa Goodwin called the latest storm the worst she has ever seen.

“The destruction that it caused was quick and unexpected and we don’t usually see that many trees uprooted and slammed into houses,” said Goodwin, who has lived in Lincoln most of her life. “There was nothing that was this quick or devastating for people.”

Lincoln was hardest hit in the Libby Street and Lee Road areas, Goodwin said, while water flowed so fast over one section of Route 155 between Penobscot Valley Hospital and Mattanawcook Lake that it tore up a large section of pavement along the road. A tree came down on Academy Street and snapped a utility pole, causing a power outage that blacked out the town office until shortly after noon.

Lincoln’s Public Works Department crews will collect storm debris neighbors leave at curbside for three days starting Monday, Goodwin said.

“Progress has been slow due to the large number of broken trees, poles and fallen power lines,” a Bangor Hydro spokesperson reported late Friday morning. “Crews from other divisions of Bangor Hydro have been deployed to the affected area, the hardest hit being in and around the Lincoln area.”

In some cases Thursday night, power lines were reported across roadways. In the Hogan Road area of Interstate 95, Bangor Hydro crews responded to the report of a low power line.

Bangor Daily News writer Nick Sambides contributed to this report.

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