Friday, November 24th, 2017

Detrimental winds beat out the ice storm of ‘98 in power outages

Posted on November 08, 2017 in News
By USM Free Press

Kate Rogers

Schools all over Maine were closed on Monday due to a storm that brought powerful winds and knocked out power for nearly half a million Mainers. The USM Lewiston campus lost power from around ten o’clock Wednesday morning until Thursday morning, while  Portland and Gorham campuses did not have major issues and only canceled half a day’s classes on Monday. CBS News 13’s Brad Rogers said on twitter that due to cancellations, schools may use up most of their snow days before winter comes. The power outages also caused businesses to close all over the state. Many hospitals had to run on generators and several more canceled surgeries and appointments for fear of being interrupted by outages, according to BDN.

The Portland Press Herald reported that it was the largest amount of outages in the Central Maine Power Company’s (CMP) history, at nearly 500,000 Monday afternoon. This was more Mainers without power than there were during the ice storm of 1998, according to local news.
A large portion of the damage from the storm was due to trees and poles that had fallen down because of the powerful winds; the wind speed  in Augusta reached 70 mph according to the Morning Sentinel. The fallen trees caused roadblocks, damaged cars and houses, as well as impairing power lines.

Wind damage was not limited to land, as  the coast guard reported more than 50 vessels that had been blown from their moorings from Maine to Rhode Island, according to the Bangor Daily News (BDN).
Flooding was reported in most riverside and coastal cities but the amount of rainfall was not severe. The highest reported rainfall was approximately 4 inches in some areas, according to the Portland National Weather Service. Major flooding occurred on the Kennebec, Carrabassett and Sandy rivers with towns like Waterville and North Anson getting detrimental water levels.

During the storm communities came together to assist with damages and provide resources for people without power. On Wednesday, the Augusta Civic Center opened as a warming shelter for people who had no heat. The Windham high school offered warm showers and a place for charging phones  , advertised by the Windham Police Department’s twitter page. Similar temporary shelters opened all across Maine. According to the Portland NWS, this October has been unusually warm so many people were alright without heat. No one in Maine was reported seriously injured during this storm.

Concerns about Halloween events on Tuesday were brought up due to so many hazards in the streets. Some towns like Brunswick postponed trick-or-treating until the next day, and others like Bangor strongly discouraged it. Portland encouraged families to go out but to be very careful and aware of hazards, according to the Press Herald.
As far as the damages caused by the storm, according to WCSH 6 Portland news, “The state is pursuing a federal disaster declaration. The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been working to collect information on storm damage, both public and private.” Peter Rogers, the director of MEMA encouraged residents to keep track of all damages including spoiled food and let their local governments know about them.
As of Thursday night, CMP’s online count of statewide power outages was down to around 70,000. The linemen and the firefighters have been working long hours fixing power and cleaning up as Governor Lepage has issued a state of emergency. CMP will likely have power back for everyone before Monday. Not all downed lines and trees have been cleared away and police along with CMP encourage people to stay far away from downed lines, and not to drive under them