Two tornadoes touched down in southern Maine Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service said today.

Andy Pohl, a meteorologist with the Weather Service, said tornadoes were confirmed in Limerick and Gorham. Both were EF1 tornadoes – the second-lowest ranking, based on windspeeds – with winds of about 90 miles an hour.

Polh said the Limerick tornado formed first, touching down at about 6:22 p.m. Officials are still collecting data, he said, but the tornado appears to have touched down along Patterson Road and ran in a semi-continuous path about three miles long. Semi-continuous means the tornado touched down and lifted off the ground repeatedly along the path.

The tornado caused some damage to houses and trees in the area, he said.

The second tornado touched down around 7:15 p.m. in Gorham and ran along a semi-continuous path about 5.5 miles long from Webster Road to the intersection of Routes 237 and 25. The storm snapped “thousands” of small trees, Pohl said, and uprooted larger trees. In addition, it threw iron-axled farm trailers 40 to 50 feet, he said.

Maine typically sees just one or two tornadoes a year, Pohl said.


11:37 a.m.

The National Weather Service is investigating four possible tornadoes in northern New England, including three in Maine, officials said.

Jim Brown, a meteorologist with the service, said radar Wednesday night indicated that tornadoes were possible in Alfred, Biddeford-Saco and Gorham in Maine and in Wentworth, N.H.

Teams of meteorologists are heading to those four areas this morning to look at damage patterns to try to confirm that tornadoes touched down, Brown said. He said a likely sign of a tornado would be trees blown down at right angles to the path of the storm.

Confirmation of any tornadoes will have to wait until the teams look at damage and return to the NWS office in Gray to go over their findings, Brown said. That means confirmation isn’t expected until later this afternoon.

Brown said southern Maine, particularly York and Cumberland counties, were hit by severe storms caused by the clash between cool, dry air from a cold front passing through the area and the warm, humid air that had been in place.


The storm knocked out power to about 23,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers Wednesday night, and crews restored power to slightly more than half of those customers by 8 a.m. this morning, the utility said.

The largest number of customers without power was in York County, where about 7,500 didn’t have electricty. In Cumberland County, CMP said about 2,750 had no electric service, and 750 were without power in Sagadahoc County, with scattered outages in Lincoln, Oxford, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

CMP said more than 30 utility poles were broken in York and Cumberland counties, and the company said it expects that number to rise as it continues ito do a damage assessment.

An emergency dispatch center in Windham was operating on generator power after a lightning strike last night, officials said, and Windham town officials said e-mail and phone service to Town Hall was down this morning, but offices were open.


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