August 19, 2019
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Thunderstorm rips through Bangor area causing widespread outages

Courtesy of Matt Gibbs
Courtesy of Matt Gibbs
Trees uprooted along Route 15 in Kenduskeag

More than 2,000 power customers were in the dark Thursday afternoon as a powerful thunderstorm rolled through Greater Bangor.

Nearly 1,500 Emera Maine customers and around 700 Central Maine Power Co. customers, almost entirely in Penobscot County, were without electricity at 2 p.m., according to the companies’ websites.

Bangor Daily News reader Matt Gibb sent in a photo showing several uprooted trees and downed branches along Route 15 in Kenduskeag, near the intersection with Lancaster Brook Road.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Norton said the Caribou office had not received any official reports of a tornado in the area, but did say high winds had swept through the region.

“We’ll review the data tomorrow, and I’ll take a trip down there myself to survey the damage,” Norton said. “It appears to have just been wind.”

Torrential rains and wind blew through the area, transforming clear skies into dark clouds and rapidly flooding low-lying roads. Minutes after the rain started falling, calls reporting downed trees and smoking power lines began pouring into the county’s dispatch center.

“Nearly a dozen calls in the past 30 minutes have kept our crews busy,” the Bangor Fire Department tweeted around 2:45 p.m. “We [sic] ask you #staysafe inside and #TurnAroundDon’tDrown during the downpours causing street flooding.”

City officials warned drivers to avoid the intersection of State and Exchange streets, where the storm had toppled construction equipment related to ongoing road work there. Crews were on scene redirecting traffic, the city engineer said.

The National Weather Service issued a statement Thursday explaining that the “severe thunderstorm” was expected to affect only central Penobscot and Hancock counties.

The warning was set to expire at 2 p.m. In Bangor, a clear blue sky started to emerge from the black clouds around 2:15 p.m.

An Emera spokeswoman said crews are working to repair power lines and urged people not to touch downed lines.

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