Severe thunderstorms toppled trees and knocked out electricity to thousands of customers in York County on Thursday.

“There were trees and wires down all over the place,” said James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

There were reports of downed trees in York, Kittery, Eliot, Saco and Biddeford, and golf ball-sized hail in Dover, N.H.

The storms brought winds estimated as high as 60 to 70 mph.

Robert Bohlmann, director of York County Emergency Management, said the area was hit with two major storms, one in the mid-afternoon that hit Saco and Old Orchard Beach and another at about 6:30 p.m. that ravaged parts of Eliot, York and South Berwick.

“It pretty well annihilated Indian River Campground in Eliot,” he said.

The area is used as long-term camp area for campers and trailers, several of which were demolished, he said.

There were two minor injuries reported in York, people who were gathered under a tent that was knocked over by the wind, Bohlmann said.

Weather Service officials were scheduled to visit the Camp Ellis area to determine the nature of the storm there, since the downed trees suggested the winds might have been rotating, Bohlmann said.

A cold front arrived from the northwest and hit moist, unstable air over southern Maine and southern and central New Hampshire just before 2 p.m., spawning intense storms with high winds.

Steve Capriola, a meteorologist in Gray, said some of the rainfall was heavy, but the storms moved so quickly that there was little chance for flooding.

“They were moving very fast, the storms themselves probably 40 mph, but the winds in them were even stronger than that,” he said.

Dispatchers in York County said downed trees were blocking emergency vehicles but crews were working to clear the roads.

Central Maine Power Co. said 6,265 customers had lost power by 9 p.m., almost all in York County. Crews were being brought in from other areas to help restore power, but it was expected to take all night.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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