Downed wires trapped motorists in their vehicles in Hallowell. Broken trees blocking roads forced emergency responders to seek alternate routes, and a flash flood lent credence to the name Water Street in Gardiner.

No injuries were reported among the damage from a line of thunderstorms that ripped through central Maine about 5 p.m. and poured torrents of rain peppered with golf-ball sized hail.

The hail and horizontal rain broke skylights and windows at Maple Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast and left the business operating on generators only.

Owner Scott Cowger said a number of other residents along Outlet Road also sustained property damage, and the Hallowell Fire Department had to help clear trees and open the road.

Guests at the bed and breakfast who had come from Florida had a hail-inflicted dent on their Harley, he said.

“Broken glass flew six or seven feet across one room, and guests in the room at the time put stuff up to block the window that was broken,” Cowger said.

“It’s the most intense storm and by far the most damaging we ever had. The hosta plants by entrance are just stems. That shows the wind has just stripped them bare.”

Shortly after 8 p.m., the windows were boarded up windows and the skylights covered with tarps.

“We’re sitting here with a generator on and eating the dinner ordered from the Thai restaurant downtown,” Cowger said.

John Carroll, spokesman for Central Maine Power Co. said 26,500 customers were without power at about 7 p.m., and the number had dropped down to 18,646 by about 9 p.m.

“There will be some customers out overnight,” he said.

Among the customer outages remaining late Thursday were 9,600 in Kennebec County. 4,300 in Androscoggin County, 4,065 in York County and 1,200 in Lincoln County.

Richard Beausoleil, Kennebec County Emergency Management director, said Gardiner and Hallowell sustained damage, most of it on private property.

He too had reports of power lines down on Hallowell Outlet Road and of the people trapped in cars.

“All the fire departments were pretty much straight out for quite a while,” he said. Beausoleil said several washouts were reported along some roads.

Eric Schwibs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Forecast Office, Portland-Gray, Maine, said the thunderstorms came rushing through with strong winds large hail.

However, he said the bad weather appeared to be finished at least for the night.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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