Maine set a record for the most tornadoes to touch down in a single day after the National Weather Service in Gray confirmed Wednesday that a fifth tornado touched down Saturday in western Maine.

Saturday’s record beat the previous single-day record of four tornadoes set on July 21, 2010, when three tornadoes were reported in York County and one was reported in Gorham. The weather service started tracking tornado data in the early 1950s, according to meteorologist Eric Schwibs.

Saturday’s string of tornadoes knocked trees onto a campground and homes and knocked out power to thousands in Bridgton, Denmark, and Otisfield. The violent weather system blasted through western Maine during the afternoon and early evening hours.

The weather service confirmed Wednesday that an EF-0 tornado, the weakest category, touched down near Otisfield around 6:35 p.m. Saturday, packing maximum wind speeds of 75 mph. It cut a 75-yard wide path for 2.5 miles from Bolsters Mill Road, where it pushed tree branches onto power lines, to Bell Hill Road, where a large pine tree fell on a house. The tornado also blew down trees on Peaco Hill Road and Rayville Road in Otisfield.

“Eyewitnesses reported hearing ear popping sensations often reported with tornadoes,” the weather service said.

The storms caused extensive damage to the Shawnee Peak ski resort in Bridgton, at camps along the southwestern shore of Moose Pond in Denmark, on the western shore of Sebago Lake, at Highland and Long Lakes, and in Otisfield.

The Long Lake tornado caused extensive damage to an RV campground while the Shawnee Peak tornado uprooted and snapped several large trees. Those tornadoes were rated EF-1s, which means they had the potential to produce winds speeds of up to 110 mph. The Sebago Lake tornado was also an EF-0.

Authorities reported that no one was injured by the tornadoes.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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