October 31, 2012

‘We got ... pretty lucky’

The power is still out for some Maine residents, but the state escaped the fatalities and damage many other states suffered.

From staff reports

Maine escaped the most damaging path of the "superstorm" that ended Tuesday, but as night fell, thousands of residents remained in the dark.

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The remnants of superstorm Sandy were still kicking up substantial surf Tuesday, including at this jetty on Wells Beach.

Greory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Neighbors observe and take photos of a tree that fell across Methodist Road in Westbrook. On Route 88 in Falmouth, which was closed at Depot Road, crews from Time Warner Cable and CMP repaired equipment after a huge tree fell and took down lines.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

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As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Central Maine Power Co. reported that 17,440 customers were still without power. More than 14,000 of them were in York and Cumberland counties.

CMP spokesman John Carroll said the utility hoped to have everyone's power restored by Thursday, "and possibly sooner."

More than 159,000 of CMP's 615,000 customers lost power at some point during the storm, he said.

Carroll said CMP expected to have power restored to most communities north of Augusta by Tuesday night, except for some remote towns in northern Franklin County.

He said Cumberland and York counties were hit hardest by outages because they got stronger winds off the ocean and had more leaves on trees, leading to downed wires when trees or branches fell on them.

Carroll said repair crews will likely go south to places such as New York and New Jersey, which the storm hit directly, to help with those restoration efforts once the work in Maine is complete.

Carroll said the restoration effort in Maine was on target Tuesday.

"We're recovering from what might be a once-in-a-century event. We think we had a good (restoration) plan," he said.


The storm brought rain, 25-foot waves and winds as strong as 76 mph to Maine on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. The weather service said Portland got 1.5 inches of rain.

Utilities, emergency officials and residents expressed relief that Maine escaped serious damage like that in the mid-Atlantic states.

But for Michael Gordon of Wells, the storm's impact -- and his mortality -- were more apparent.

Gordon was in the bedroom of his home on Canterbury Road around 1 a.m. Tuesday when a branch of a falling 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 poured through the opening in the ceiling, soaking the floor.

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

Pieces of wood and tufts of fiberglass insulation were strewn across the bedroom carpet Tuesday morning. Gordon's front yard was covered with pieces of the tree and the twisted remnants of his flagpole.


As the weather cleared at midday Tuesday, some activities returned to normal.

The Coast Guard reopened the ports of Portland and Portsmouth, N.H., at 10 a.m. after closing them before the height of the storm Monday.

The worst storm-related mishap in Maine occurred when a barge in Bar Harbor sank at its mooring, said Coast Guard Lt. Nick Barrow in South Portland. The Coast Guard is working with the harbor master there to have the barge raised, he said.

Two members of the Coast Guard in South Portland will be sent to New York City to help with storm recovery there over the next four to five days, Barrow said.

All flights from the Portland International Jetport were canceled on Tuesday, though there were 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."

Flights arrived at the airport Tuesday afternoon, coming from Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and Detroit, where the storm had much less impact.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Crews from McDonough Electric Construction of Bedford, Mass., work to remove a cherry tree that had fallen over Princes Point Road in Yarmouth on Tuesday.

Photo by Todd Hall


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