December 18, 2017
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Maine continues to add up wind damage, which is likely to exceed ice storm’s cost

By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff
Updated:
Michele McDonald/Portland Press Herald via AP | BDN
Michele McDonald/Portland Press Herald via AP | BDN
A large tree is down on top of a car on Mellen Street, in Portland, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, after early morning storm with high winds.

Debris from Monday’s “devastating” storm littered the state Tuesday as Mainers cleaned up and attempted to get back to their daily routines in the face of widespread power outages and property damage.

The storm, which is proving to be more destructive than the ice storm of 1998, brought high winds and heavy rain across the state ― knocking down trees and flooding some roadways.

In 1998, state, local and county governments received almost $50 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements for costs associated with the ice storm. No estimates of the cost of this year’s windstorm were immediately available.

[Live: The latest storm photos and information throughout the state]

The Maine Emergency Management Agency said it could take weeks to know the total cost of the damage caused by the storm. Fallen trees crushed cars, gouged holes in homes and left a maze of road blockages.

“We’re a resilient state, and we’re used to severe storms,” MEMA acting director Peter J. Rogers said Tuesday during a news conference. “Nevertheless, this one was devastating.”

While a number of businesses and schools reopened Tuesday, many remained closed and work is ongoing to reopen blocked roadways and clear downed trees.

For the second day in a row, Amtrak’s Downeaster rail service between Boston and Brunswick was suspended.

The high winds also caused damage in Maine’s harbors, especially the Waldo County city of Belfast, where at least six vessels broke from their moorings, reducing them to rubble as they smashed on the rocks.

[Maine utilities cope slowly with record number of outages]

After the storm, U.S. Coast Guard crews from Maine to Rhode Island were surveying damage. The crews have identified more than 50 vessels that broke free from their moorings, according to news released from the Coast Guard. The vessels ranged in size and type, from large sailboats and motorboats to dinghies and kayaks. Most of the vessels were unmanned and adrift, while others washed up on shore.

Many of the owners have been identified and contacted, and have contracted commercial salvage companies to recover their vessels.

In the Hancock County town of Trenton, municipal officials had set up a warming center at the fire station, Town Manager Carol Walsh said. Emera reported 813 customers still without electricity in Trenton as of 2 p.m. The town had 1,481 residents, according to the latest census. Internet service was also out.

“We are rural, so everybody has wells and septic systems,” Walsh said. “The hum of generators in Trenton is mind-boggling.”

“We’re all over the place. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it,” York Fire Department Assistant Chief Pete Humphrey told The York Weekly. “There are a lot of uprooted trees, snapped telephone poles down, a mix.”

[Many roads remain closed after wind, rain slam Maine]

Humphrey reiterated that it will take time for power to be restored to many people and for some roads to be reopened.

“Unfortunately, everyone is just going to have to be patient,” Humphrey said. “CMP is working. We’re working. Just be patient.”

Wells Police Chief Joann Putnam urged Mainers to continue to be careful on the roads and stay away from any downed wires.

“Give [the authorities] a call and we will come by and check them out and let people know if they are safe or not,” she told the York County Coast Star. “Some may be just cable lines, but it’s better to be safe. We would rather people be cautious.”

“Public works is doing a great job clearing the roads and they have all their equipment out,” Kittery Police Chief James Soucy told the Portsmouth Herald.

BDN writers Beth Brogan, Seth Koenig and Nick Sambides Jr. contributed to this report.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest storm recovery information.

 


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