October 30, 2012

At least 88,000 without power as Maine officials assess storm damage

Flights from the Portland Jetport were still canceled this morning and the Amtrak Downeaster canceled all trains for the day.

By Staff Writers Dennis Hoey, David Hench, Tom Bell, Gillian Graham and Jessica Hall.

As superstorm Sandy subsided Tuesday morning, Maine emergency officials and residents began to assess the damage while travelers dealt with continued fallout from the storm.

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Mountain Road in Falmouth was blocked to traffic starting at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning when a tree fell onto the road, bringing down a power line in the process. David and Laurie Janes say they heard the crash while in bed in their Falmouth home.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Diane Visch of Scarborough heads back home Tuesday morning, after checking out the heavy surf at Higgins Beach kicked up by Hurricane Sandy.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

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Power outages: As of 10:15 a.m., outages in Maine totaled 88,581, including 84,978 Central Maine Power customers and 3,603 Bangor Hydro Electric Co. customers.

Evacuations: There are no mandatory evacuation orders. But the town of Wells encouraged people in coastal and low-lying areas to leave their homes and businesses.

People in shelters: At least one shelter was open in Buxton. A shelter was to open in Bridgton at 8 a.m.

Injuries/deaths: None.

Top wind speed: The top recorded wind speed in Maine during the storm was 76 mph in Bath, according to the National Weather Service in Gray

Other top wind speeds:

Portland International Jetport: 63 mph.
Kennebunk: 62 mph.
Matinicus Rock: 58 mph.
Portland Harbor Weather Buoy: 54 mph.
Rockland: 49 mph.
Lewiston: 46 mph.
Augusta: 44 mph.
Rangeley, 44 mph.

Rainfall: The coastal plain in Maine received 1.5 to 2 inches of rain. As much as 3 inches fell in the mountains.

Today's forecast: For today, wind speeds will be between 10 and 20 mph with gusts of up to 25 mph, the weather service said. There will be heavy showers, off and on, all day, with the heaviest rain falling in the mountains.


To check flight cancellations at the Jetport: http://www.portlandjetport.org/

Red Cross: (877) 372-7363

FEMA: (800) 621-3362

Maine Emergency Management: (207) 624-4400

Central Maine Power (outages): (800) 696-1000


National Weather Service's interactive maps

National Hurricane Center

National Weather Service mobile forecasts

Local hour-by-hour and extended forecasts




As of 10:15 a.m., power outages in Maine totaled 88,581, including 84,978 Central Maine Power customers and 3,603 Bangor Hydro Electric Co. customers.

Bangor Hydro warned that some people might not get their electricity back until Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

For Michael Gordon of Wells, the damage – and his mortality – were apparent. Gordon was in the bedroom of his Canterbury Road home around 1 a.m. Tuesday when the branch of a pine tree punctured the ceiling, narrowly missing him.

"I'm laying in bed and I could hear the cracking. I rolled out of bed just as the branch came through," Gordon said. "The sheetrock was blowing all over me." Water, too, poured through the opening in the ceiling, soaking the floor.

The Wells Fire Department called CMP crews to the house to remove the pine tree because it had fallen across power lines connected to the house.

The branch remains impaled through the roof of the house and the bedroom carpet is strewn with pieces of wood and tufts of fiberglass insulation.

Gordon's front yard is still covered with pieces of the tree and the twisted remnants of his flagpole.

In the Portland area, flights from the Portland International Jetport were still canceled on Tuesday morning, though there are no problems specifically in Portland.

"The jetport itself, we're in fine shape," said Bob Rothbart, who works in the airport's communications center. "The runways, everything is open, but like everything else on the East Coast, the airlines took their airplanes and sent them to safe places."

Regularly scheduled flights are not expected to resume until about 11:25 a.m. and even then there could be major delays well into the afternoon. Travelers are urged to contact their airline for flight-specific information.

The Amtrak Downeaster has canceled all trains for Tuesday. An official said the railroad will monitor conditions to determine when service can resume. Plans to celebrate the inaugural run to Freeport and Brunswick on Thursday are unaffected.

York emergency dispatchers reported several roads closed because of trees downing wires, with extensive power outages.

"We were on a generator all night but we just got power back here," said Nathaniel Higgins, at the York dispatch center.

Emergency management officials in York County said that besides some road closures and power outages, there was little damage.

"Overall, we got out of it pretty lucky, all things considered," said Steve Harding, spokesman for the York County Emergency Management Agency.

In Cumberland County, Anne-Marie Brett, deputy director of the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, said that as day broke people would get a better idea of the extent of the storm damage, though it appeared minimal.

"We've had no major reports overnight of any extreme problems," Brett said.

"There's lots of notification of some wires down, some trees down, but very few complete road closures so that in a way is good for us," Brett said. "We have seen the number of outages go down over night and now they're starting to come up which is to be expected."

County and state emergency management directors planned to hold a conference call at 9 a.m. to assess damage throughout the state and determine the extent of damage.

The worst of superstorm Sandy brought 25-foot waves, winds over 60 mph overnight and a blackout that affected tens of thousands of people.

A gust of 76 mph was recorded Monday night at a home weather station in Bath, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. That exceeded the forecasted high wind speed of 60 mph.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Gerard LeBlanc and Steve Graffam check out the damage from a fallen tree that knocked down a power pole and lines on Methodist Road in Westbrook. The power was off before the tree fell, according to LeBlanc, owner of the tree which continues to block the road.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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A downed tree and power line on Methodist Road in Westbrook.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Stephen Graffam, who lives on Methodist Road in Westbrook, checks out a tree that fell about 3 a.m. and blocked the road. He said two young men who wanted to get to work pulled out two chainsaws and cut it up about 5 a.m.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Waves crash into the coastline near Short Sand Beach in York on Monday.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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Michael Wirtz, of Wilmington, Del., braves flood waters and high winds that arrive with Hurricane Sandy along North Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City, N.J., on Monday. Hurricane Sandy continued on its path Monday, forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing for higher ground, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain.

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A wave comes over a sea wall in Saco near houses on Eagle Avenue during high tide on Monday. The surge from Hurricane Sandy caused some beach erosion in Saco and there was minor flooding in Camp Ellis.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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Caleb Lavoie, 17, of Dayton, Maine, front, and Curtis Huard, 16, of Arundel, Maine, leap out of the way as a large wave crashes over a seawall on the Atlantic Ocean during the early stages of Hurricane Sandy on Monday.

The Associated Press

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Waves crash over a sea wall along Long Beach Avenue in York on Monday as a result of weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

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Thomas Beecher, 13, of York is held up by the wind at Short Sands Beach, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, as the area began to see effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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Hilda Anderson of Springvale had enough of Hurricane Sandy and headed back to her car after watching the storm crash onto East End Beach on Monday.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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Laura Gough of Cape Elizabeth shields herself with an umbrella as she walks to work on Commercial Street Monday morning, October 29, 2012.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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At the end of Fairhaven Avenue in Saco on Monday, October 29, 2012, a payloader builds up a dirt berm to protect the street from erosion expected to happen because of the storm surge hitting the coast from hurricane Sandy.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer:

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Canadian utility crews called in to help with storm recovery if needed included electrical lineman Dave Leavitt, left, shown arriving Sunday at the Hampton Inn in Augusta.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

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Hallowell firefighters Rick Seymour, left, and Roy Girard fuel up a generator Sunday at the town fire station. The volunteer company was testing emergency equipment and preparing the station for the arrival of storm Sandy, which may disrupt power and cause flooding.

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

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Michael and Kristin Guibord from Portland grab a fence and their two boys Orion 8 and Jonah 6 as they brace against the wind to view Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth on Mon. Oct. 29, 2012.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


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