Utility crews preparing for more thunderstorms Saturday night after thousands lose power

Posted July 20, 2013, at 7:52 a.m.
Last modified July 20, 2013, at 5:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Another thunderstorm was expected to hit late Saturday, following a violent line of thunderstorms overnight Friday that left thousands without power and utility crews working to repair downed wires and blown transformers.

Bangor Hydro Electric Co. is calling in all available crews to work overnight Saturday to help deal with the havoc the storm might bring, company spokeswoman Susan Faloon said.

“We are bracing for it, especially since there is so much damage out there already,” Faloon said Saturday. “We have some Maine Public Service crews down here already. We have basically called in people on standby. They will be working tonight.”

The earlier line of thunderstorms knocked out power throughout Maine overnight Friday and Saturday morning. Bangor Hydro Electric Co. reported 3,451 outages as of 4 p.m. Saturday, with most occurring in Penobscot County. Additional crews had been placed on standby for the weekend in anticipation of the storm, Faloon said.

“We have some people who have come in on their vacation. Usually if people are around they are pretty good about doing that,” Faloon said. “A lot of them have the damage themselves [to their homes] so they really have an understanding of the extent of it.”

“Sometimes the storms we get in the summer are worse than the ones we get in the winter,” Faloon added.

Central Maine Power reported 7,596 customers without power as of 10:40 a.m. Saturday, with most of the outages in Somerset, Kennebec and Androscoggin counties.

“At one point we had almost 17,000 outages, mostly in northern [and] western counties between 10 [p.m.] and midnight,” CMP spokesman John Carroll said. “We’ll get most of this today, if not all of it. Today is also supposed to be an eventful day. I’m wondering if they’ll just end up working straight through … I think it’s going to be a long weekend for everybody.”

Areas with the largest numbers of outages remaining include Old Town, Hudson, Milford, Bradley and Winn.

Lt. Carl Gottardi of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said that at about 6 p.m. reports of trees and wires down began coming in from the Jackman and Cambridge areas. Microbursts also were reported near Jackman.

“I know in the Skowhegan area there were a lot of trees down. It started in the Jackman area and worked its way down this way,” he said from Skowhegan.

People are reminded to avoid attempting to remove fallen power lines and trees near or touching them.

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.

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