December 18, 2017
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Many roads remain closed after wind, rain slam Maine

By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff
Updated:

A storm bringing high winds and heavy rains to Maine left a path of destruction and hundreds of thousands without power Monday.

The storm threw a quick, powerful punch, arriving in southern Maine on Sunday evening and hammering the state throughout the night into Monday morning. Wind gusts crested above 60 miles per hour in some parts of the state. Rainfall totals exceeded 4 inches in some places, spurring flash-flood advisories.

By noon Monday, storm clouds had departed many parts of Maine, allowing the sun’s rays to shine upon devastation that will takes days — and in some cases — weeks to clean up and repair.

Across the state Monday, schools implemented cancellations and delays, emergency crews closed local roads due to downed trees and power lines, and countless property damage incidents were reported as trees crashed into homes and cars.

[Closings, cancellations and delays throughout the state]

Route 1 in Brunswick was closed for several hours early Monday morning.

Storm damage forced the closure of Route 2 near the New Hampshire border. The Amtrak Downeaster rail service has canceled several of its trains because of downed trees and power outages.

Gov. Paul LePage issued a statement Monday morning urging Mainers to stay safe as they travel throughout the state. He later ordered state offices to close at 3 p.m. and declared a state of emergency, which allows utility crews to work longer hours to repair downed lines and restore power.

Local road closures were widespread in cities and towns across the state. In Lincoln County alone, the storm forced closure of 71 roads, including stretches of routes 17, 27, 32, and 129, according to the county’s emergency management directory, Casey Stevens. Phone service was out in parts of Alna, Bremen, Bristol and Jefferson, according to the Lincoln County News.

The Maine Department of Transportation warned motorists to take extra time during their commute Monday, with state road crews reporting downed trees and power lines. Power outages also caused traffic signals to go offline.

At least two Portland motorists had no choice. Multiple massive trees split at the base or tore up from the roots in Portland, including a tree on Mellen Street, crushing Kevin Walsh’s red Toyota RAV4, parked outside the local market.

“It was just like a big crash, it sounded like something exploded,” said Walsh, who lives nearby. “[My wife] wanted to go check it out, I wanted to stay in bed. I guess it’s good we did [check it out].”

Walsh said his insurance company was scheduled to come evaluate the vehicle, but he was sure it was totaled.

That cars parked just feet in front and behind his car remained relatively unscathed made him chuckle.

“Maybe my car is the hero. It saved all of the other cars,” he said, shrugging. “It’s nature. What are you going to do?”

Amy Segal and her family awoke at 4:30 a.m. when a tree taller than her Portland home crashed through the front porch, barely missing the front bedroom where she and her husband slept.

The tree crushed an SUV parked in front 0f the house, on Alba Street near Deering High School, but Segal said she was grateful no one was injured.

[VIDEO: NH home gets carried away by storm flooding, wrecked against a bridge]

Bath Iron Works canceled its first shift at all facilities Monday, including the main shipyard in Bath. Bath police urged people to stay off the roads as public works removed trees and Central Maine Power repaired lines.

The entire town of Brunswick was still without power at 9:45 a.m., with emergency crews and Mid Coast Hospital operating off a generator, Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz said.

“There isn’t a traffic light in town working,” Waltz said. Police officers working the overnight shift were held late to respond to downed trees and wires, leaving drivers to navigate intersections themselves.

“I had hoped people would stay home, but they’re out,” he said. “For the most part, they’re being courteous.”

At 11 a.m., Brunswick Public Works reported that 30 roads in town were still closed.

A spokesperson for the Maine Emergency Management Agency said Monday afternoon that agency staff are closely watching dams in Greenwood and Rumford. She also said it would likely be weeks before an estimate of the storm’s damage would be available.

BDN writers Beth Brogan and Seth Koenig contributed to this report.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest storm coverage.

 


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