BANGOR, Maine — Strong winds that whipped through Maine on Thursday knocked out power to more than 9,000 customers in at least a dozen counties and ripped down trees — some big enough to block roadways.
“We’re getting one call after another right now,” a Penobscot Regional Communications Center dispatcher said just before noon. “We’ve had a lot. There are wires down and trees down, [and] we’ve had a lot of trees blocking roads.”
One large tree that fell blocked U.S. Route 2 in Orono, near Silver’s Auto Parts, for about 30 minutes, Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing said.
“It was a good-sized tree,” he said. “The fire department and public works went down and cleared it.”
Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. had 3,735 customers without power Thursday morning, mostly in Penobscot County, and Central Maine Power had 5,662 powerless, with 3,582 in Lincoln County.
“Power is expected to be restored in three to four hours, but continued strong winds may cause additional outages and delay restoration time,” Bangor Hydro said in a news release.
Both companies warned customers to be cautious around power lines brought down by the winds.
“Stay away from downed power lines,” the CMP website warned. “Even lines that appear ‘dead’ can be deadly.”
By 4 p.m., CMP had reduced the number of customers without power to 978 and Bangor Hydro still had 2,651 without power.
“Outages are scattered across Penobscot County, with a large number of customers in Hampden affected,” Bangor Hydro said in a statement late Thursday afternoon. “Heavy leaves weighing on tree limbs have contributed to the number of outages.”