Strong winds that blew into Maine on Tuesday morning sent the mercury diving and caused whiteout conditions across the state.
As of 9:45 a.m., more than 35,000 Mainers were left without power as gusty winds brought down tree limbs. The highest number of outages were reported in the Central Maine Power service area, with 29,153 without power. Versant Power reported 6,543 outages in its service, with them concentrated in Penobscot (2,551) and Hancock (3,398) counties.
The National Weather Service said in a Tuesday advisory that winds are blowing at a sustained 25 to 35 mph, but reaching gusts up to 65 mph. That’s creating wind chills as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero in places.
In Aroostook County, the sheriff warned drivers to stay off the road because the winds have created whiteout conditions, with traffic on Route 1 in Westfield brought to virtual halt as visibility dropped to zero. The Maine State Police called the conditions “deplorable” and advised drivers in the area to turn on their headlights to alert others.
The damage from winds also left some Bangor students without a bus ride to school on Tuesday morning, according to the city’s school department. Students on Essex Street between Burleigh Road and Holiday Park and students on Church Road between Skyline and Pushaw Road were without bus service, while it ran late elsewhere in the city.