Location, location, location.

That and timing made all the difference for southern and coastal Maine when it came to Tropical Storm Irene, which veered due north up the Connecticut River valley giving Maine just a taste of her power.

Still, Maine received 2 to as much as 9 inches of rain along with with sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts up to  52 mph, enough to knock down trees and cut power to 275,000 homes and businesses altogether over the course of the storm and afterward.

Central Maine Power Co. worked today to restore power to large clusters of customers, focusing initially on transmission lines that, despite winding through corridors cleared of trees, were knocked out in spots by trees toppling from the edges. The heavy rains that preceded Sunday’s high winds left the ground soggy, and trees were prone to being uprooted, said CMP spokesman John Carroll.

Hundreds of line crews are out working to restore power but it could be several days before customers in some remote areas have their power restored.

Central Maine Power’s number of outages was back up to 183,000 as customers continued to report new interruptions this morning, but the utility expects those reports to drop off as high winds ease later in the day. Bangor Hydro-Electric’s latest count was about 21,000 outages.

“Probably 90 percent of the town is without power,” said Andy Ward, emergency dispatcher in the York County town of Buxton. “West Buxton seemed to get hit more than downtown,” he said.

The damage didn’t appear severe on his way into work at 7 a.m., he said.

“It was just a bunch of branches and leaves in the road, not a lot of catastrophic stuff,” Ward said.

Several areas of the Lakes Region were particularly hard-hit by Tropical Storm Irene, including Edy Cove on Sebago Lake’s Jordan Bay in the town of Raymond, where boats washed ashore and docks ripped free.

Almost a dozen trees fell along the shore and one took down power lines. Lawns in the area of summer cottages were strewn with pine branches and neighbors were out Monday cleaning up.

“It blew for 12 hours. It was just unbelievable. My floor was shaking,” said Suzanne Williams, who watched the storm with her husband Tom. The couple lives most of the year in Southport, North carolina, near where Hurricane Irene first made landfall in the U.S.

The storm hit hard there, but there are few trees. “Our house there was fine. Everybody is out playing golf and here we are up here,” she said, gesturing with hands protected by green garden gloves as she took a break from cleaning debris from her lawn.

Ron and Jane Stephens live most of the year in Yarmouth and summer in Edy Cove. They were at a friend’s for a hurricane party in Falmouth when they got a neighbor’s call warning them about the damage near the lake’s shore. They stayed away until this morning, when they discovered a tree had toppled onto their porch.

Peter Hoffman, of Boston, and his wife Carol were watching the storm’s fury from their summer cottage and saw their boat get washed up onto his front lawn.

“Nothing was catastrophic,” Hoffman said of the damage. “It’s just a mess.”

Downed trees and power lines led to cumbersome detours in rural areas.

Dispatchers at the Cumberland County regional communicatons center reported said there are scores of secondary roads that have been reported as closed or impassable.

Naples Town Manager Derik Goodine said that the western section of his Lakes Region town was hit hard, with many large trees uprooted, and residents on several side roads are forced to go 10 miles out of their way to get to Route 302. Even some of those roads that are passable are down to one lane, he said.

Raymond also was hit hard by the storm, with numerous roads closed and many people wihtout power, dispatchers said.

The loss of electricity is more problematic for people who need it to get water from wells than for people who are served by municipal water supplies, Goodine noted.

Statewide, emergency management officials were assessing damage and working out recovery plans.

“Obviously we have a couple overwhelming issues. One is the power outage, which is significant. The other is what appears to be some major road damage in Franklin and Somerset counties,” Lynette Miller, spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Route 27 in Carrabasset Valley, a major corridor for tourists and commerce coming down from the north, is shut down in spots and forcing traffic to take a wide detour, she said. The Maine Department of Transportation will be assessing the damage this morning and determining what can be done to reopen the road. Oxford County also had several roads damaged by the storm.

“Western Maine really got the bulk of the rain and they got a lot of rain in a very short period of time,” said Miller.

Miller said counties will determine whether any of the 15 shelters opened over night need to remain open for people who have lost power or if there are better ways to care for the people who need somewhere to stay.

“The good news is it’s August and not January,” she said. “The issues are obviously how long the restoration is going to take and there are folks that are more vulnerable to power outages, people who might depend on electricity for medical  equipment.”

Gov. Paul LePage planned to fly by helicopter to Carrabassett Valley and Rumford this morning to view storm damage and speak with affected residents, according to his office.

He spent the first part of the morning at the Emergency Operations Center in Augusta getting briefed  about damage and potential further safety and economic issues due to Tropical Storm Irene.

Travel is returning to normal as airlines, train operators and bus companies resume full schedules today.

At about 8:30 this morning, a US Airways flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport touched down at the Portland International Jetport, the first commercial flight to arrive since Tropical Storm Irene passed over Maine, said airport Director Paul Bradbury.

Among the flights operating today are US Airways’ flights to Philadelphia and LaGuardia, Jetblue Airways’ flights to New York’s JFK, AirTran Airways’ flights to Baltimore, Delta Air Lines’ flights to Atlanta, Continental Airlines’ flights to Cleveland and all United Airlines’ flights.

Routes not operating today include US Airways’ service to Charlotte, AirTran’s flights to Atlanta and Continental’s Newark flights.

Bradbury expects service to those cities to resume on a regular schedule tomorrow.

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, said Amtrak trains between Portland and Boston will resume normal service starting with train 684, which is slated to leave Portland at 12:50 this afternoon.

The rail authority carried passengers to Boston by bus this morning as crews cleared railroad tracks of debris.

Concord Coach Lines is also operating a full schedule today, said a telephone agent.

Joan Garber, of Freeport, was without power Monday but her neighbors had been restored.

“Everybody else has power except me,” she said. However, she was relieved her greenhouse wasn’t damaged and that her house wasn’t cold. And she had filled several containers and her tea kettle with water before the storm, knowing her pump might not work.

“I know the drill. You fill up every container you can find with water,” she said. If she doesn’t open her freezer, she has three days before her food stores start to spoil, she said. “It bugs me that I’m so dependent on electricity,” she said.

Garber, whose route into town was blocked by a downed wire on Flying Point Road, said she lost power for several days during the ice storm of 2008. That was worse than Irene, she said.

“The sun is shining. Blue sky. It was not such a bad storm,” she said.