September 22, 2018
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Weather service confirms tornado touched down in Aroostook County

By Christopher Bouchard, Aroostook Republican & News

PERHAM, Maine — After viewing a video recording and investigating the damaged area, National Weather Service staffers have confirmed that a tornado touched down Monday evening in this small community located west of Caribou.

“It was powerful enough to cause damage, but thankfully it was all in a forested area and didn’t impact any structures,” meteorologist Francis Kredensor of the National Weather Service Caribou office said Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

The tornado gouged a swath about 30 yards wide and 100 yards long as it briefly touched down at 5:47 p.m. just north of Tangle Ridge Road in Perham, a community of less than 400 inhabitants.

The National Weather Service staffers rated the tornado an EF0, the lowest rating a tornado can receive, with estimated winds of 75 mph.

A line of severe thunderstorms rumbled across the state Monday afternoon and evening, but Kredensor said the storm that created the tornado was “off on its own.”

“There were a couple storms near it earlier,” Kredensor said. “When this one formed, it was on its own northwest of Caribou. The storm that went through Bangor was part of a bigger line.”

There was no evidence of tornado damage or a touchdown anywhere else in the state, according to the National Weather Service offices in both Caribou and Gray.

Kredensor said that all photos sent to the National Weather Service on Monday night seemed to depict a wall cloud in northern Aroostook County without any visual touchdown. But he said he did see a video of the tornado touching down, though initially it was believed to have hit in neighboring Woodland.

Storm winds still caused some tree damage elsewhere around the state, and 1-inch diameter hail was reported in New Sweden and Caswell in northern Aroostook County.

Tornadoes are not a common occurrence in Aroostook County, but they still appear on occasion, with the last one touching down in May 2014, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’ve had several tornadoes up here,” Kredensor said. “They’re not very frequent or strong, but we do get them.”

Kredensor advises anyone caught in a tornado to seek shelter, ideally below ground.

“If you can’t go below ground, then go to a windowless interior room, and, if you can, take something soft for cushioning against debris,” he said.

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