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Central Maine faces storm-related issues as the winter season approaches

On Nov. 30, a severe rain and wind storm passed over central Maine. The storm caused tremendous damage to power lines, leading to thousands of power outages across the area.

The Central Maine Power Company is a large electricity distributor that hosts an online platform where people can report and see electricity and traffic light outages near them. Through their website, it was reported that there were a total of 17,036 electricity outages across Maine due to the storm. There were 2,193 outages in Waldo County, 2,595 in Kennebec County, 286 in Somerset County, and 48 in Franklin County. 

Central Maine Power was unable to mobilize any of its crews during the actual storm due to the high winds posing a risk to their workers. However, they had 600 field workers prepared to head out the next morning to fix the remaining outages.

Central Maine Power had consistent updates for those affected by the outages on its website and social media sites. On Thursday, its Facebook account posted pictures of large fallen trees blocking roads in Gray, Westbrook, and Yarmouth in southern Maine. Its caption read, “We expect the vast majority of customers to be restored by the end of the day and thank our crews for working efficiently and safely to make that happen,” in regards to restoring power. The power outage dashboard on its website also included some expected restoration times.  

Kennebec County faced the most outages, but Waterville managed to avoid the major problems that plagued other towns. There were no reports of fallen trees or power line outages in Waterville. Similarly, the Augusta Fire Department said the city did not have any problems stemming from the storm. 

Unfortunately, the Skowhegan Fire Department had its hands full dealing with the aftermath of the storm. In an interview with the Morning Sentinel, Captain Rick Caldwell of the Skowhegan Fire Department said, “We had quite a few calls from trees down, power lines down, a lot of power outages. Some of them created a couple of road closures for a while — big trees.”

Rainfall was heavy on Wednesday. The most rainfall was recorded in Oxford County, with nearly three inches. Augusta and Waterville both received about 1.2 inches of rain. The combination of the heavy rain and the wind is what caused such severe damage. Wind gusts reached forty-five miles per hour in Augusta and thirty-seven miles per hour in Waterville. According to the National Weather Service, wind speeds between forty to fifty-seven miles per hour are “consistent with a high wind warning,” and at this speed, “wind generally impedes walking.”

Still, these speeds were not the highest reported across the state of Maine. In Portland, parts of the city experienced gusts of sixty-four miles per hour.

Officials with Maine Agricultural Conservation and Forestry released a list of what to know when cleaning up storm debris. Notable pieces of advice include calling power companies to remove trees and branches on power lines and calling licensed arborists to assist with damaged trees. They also warn against using any unlicensed arborists.

As the weather starts to take a turn toward harsher winter conditions, there are plenty of informational resources serving the residents of Maine.

~Vivian Nguyen `25

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