ALFRED, Maine — High winds whipping over the state Friday led to downed trees, thousands of homes without power and the expectation of more problems later in the afternoon with the forecasted arrival of heavy thunderstorms to the rainy, windy mix.
Leo Rogers, director of the York County Emergency Management Agency, said that he had activated his county’s emergency response center in reaction to the numerous power outages. By 1 p.m., Central Maine Power Co. was reporting 3,372 customers without power in the county. He urged residents to sit tight until the storm wound down, which was expected to happen later Friday.
“Stay put if you can stay put until this clears through,” he said.
Central Maine Power also reported 292 customers without power in Lincoln County, 276 in Sagadahoc County, 121 in Waldo, 110 in Cumberland and 18 in Piscataquis. Just before 9 p.m., Bangor Hydro Electric Co. reported that about 4,200 customers had lost power Friday afternoon in all counties it serves and that crews would work into Saturday morning to restore electricity. However, the utility said customers without power Friday night should be prepared to go without overnight.
Some of the affected customers were in downtown Belfast, which had a power outage around noon that caused police officers to direct traffic in lieu of the nonfunctioning downtown traffic lights and required the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, jail, 911 dispatchers and emergency services departments to use their backup generator.
Ray Sisk, director of the Knox County Emergency Management Agency, said that emergency departments in a few towns there were having to handle downed trees and utility lines.
“I think most everything in the state is going to see something,” he said. “It’s a great week to be in Florida.”
The National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning for parts of Maine in effect from noon until 11 p.m. Friday, with winds of 25-35 mph and gusts of up to 60 mph.
The warning urged Mainers to secure loose objects, to be cautious when driving “high-profile” vehicles, and to make sure flashlights have working batteries.