9:40 p.m.

Extra lineworkers and tree crews from Maine and Canada will join workers from Central Maine Power Co. before dawn Monday as the state begins to recover from the tropical storm that hit Vermont and New Hampshire much harder than Maine.

Nearly 230,000 CMP customers lost power at some point Sunday. As of 9 p.m., 182,000 were still in the dark.

Restoring power is likely to take several days, according to CMP spokesman John Carroll. More information on timing will be available after crews assess the damage Monday.

Customers in York (44,545), Cumberland (34,330) and Kennebec (29,704) counties were most affected by Irene, downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm. 

8 p.m.

The worst of the Irene-related power outages may be over in Southern Maine.

Central Maine Power Co. restored service to 7,000 customers as winds and rain diminished from the tropical storm that passed through the state Sunday.

“It’s possible we’ve seen the peak,” said John Carroll, CMP spokesman, at 7:45 p.m. with 178,000 customers still without power.

York County remained hardest hit by the storm, with 42,940 outages, followed by Cumberland (38,130) and Kennebec (27,095). More than 13,000 customers of Bangor Hydro-Electric Company were also without power as of Sunday afternoon, according to the company’s website.

Other counties served by CMP and the corresponding customers without power as of 7:45 p.m.: Androscoggin (15,640), Oxford (14,460), Sagadahoc (7,985), Penobscot (7,115), Somerset (6,675), Waldo (6,515), Lincoln (5,395), Franklin (3,590), Knox (1,310), Piscatiquis (565) and Hancock (315).

6:30 p.m.

PORTLAND — More than one in four customers of Central Maine Power Co. are likely to spend the night without power.

As of 6:30 p.m., the power was out for 185,000 customers in 14 counties across the state. An additional 13,200 customers of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., mostly in Hancock County, are also without power.

John Carroll, spokesman for CMP, said residential restoration won’t begin until Monday morning.

“The priority at this point is public safety,” he said. “It’s likely to be several days before we have all our customers back up.”

York County was hit hardest by Tropical storm Irene, with 44,175 outages. Cumberland (37,835) and Kennebec (31,006) were close behind.

Other counties, with the number of CMP customers without power: Androscoggin (16,080), Oxford (14,325), Sagadahoc (8,030), Waldo (7,880), Penobscot (7,060), Somerset (6,500), Lincoln (5,960), Franklin (3,225), Knox (1,750), Hancock (615) and Piscatiquis (520). 

5:40 p.m.

PORTLAND — Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc in Maine today, knocking out power to thousands of Central Maine Power Co. customers.

The punishing tropical storm, which was downgraded from a hurricane by the time it reached Maine, brought powerful sustained winds and gusts that caused rain-soaked trees and limbs to fall on power lines.

As of 5 p.m., more than 146,000 CMP customers had no power.

CMP officials said it could take several days before electrical service will be restored to all of its customers.

Emergency management officials said it will also take a significant effort to clear debris from roads.

“Customers should be prepared for some extended outages,” said John Carroll, a spokesman for CMP. “It will be multiple days before power can be restored.”

The storm’s precursor, a band of tropical rain that drenched the state Saturday night into Sunday morning, set the stage for Sunday’s power outages.

Rainfall amounts in the Portland area were not significant – just under 2 inches – according to Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

But in western Cumberland County and the mountains of western Maine, rainfall totals reached more than 3 inches, with Casco getting 3.16 inches of rain. Gorham got just over 2 inches, and Denmark received 3.25 inches.

Concord, N.H. set a rainfall record with 2.54 inches. Curtis said the old record of 1.99 inches was set in 1911.

Power outages were widespread, affecting 14 counties, with York and Cumberland getting hit the hardest.

Carroll said more than 40,000 customers in York County lost power, 35,000 in Cumberland and 22,600 customers in Kennebec.

He said CMP’s priority was making sure that any downed power lines were de-energized and grounded to ensure the public’s safety. Crews also focused on restoring power to hospitals and other emergency service providers.

Carroll said repair crews will broaden restoration efforts at 5 a.m. Monday, but it is likely to be days before everyone gets their power back.

No fatalities or serious injuries were reported from Irene, but state emergency management officials said the cleanup of roadway debris will take some time.

“I have two concerns, the extent of the power outages and the cleanup of downed power lines and tree limbs. It’s going to take awhile. It’s not like clearing snow,” said Rob McAleer, director of Maine’s Emergency Management Agency.

Another concern is flooding along rivers such as the Saco River, which winds through York County. McLeer said the western mountain regions of the state received between 8 and 9 inches of rain from Irene.

2:16 p.m.: Tropical storm Irene expected to intensify this afternoon in Maine

Tropical Storm Irene is expected to intensify this afternoon, bringing powerful wind gusts, more rain and a threat of flooding to much of the state.

John Cannon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said his agency is most concerned with flooding, especially in communities along the Saco River.

Inland areas have already received about 5 inches of rain, and more rain is expected to fall this afternoon and evening, Cannon said. That amount of rain will likely send the Saco over its banks sometime late this evening.

Irene was preceded by a lot of heavy rain that fell overnight, the result of what weather forecasters are calling a pre. A pre is a band of heavy tropical rain that typically arrives just before a hurricane.

Cannon said the Weather Service has received reports of thunderstorms and has been monitoring the upper atmosphere for tornado activity.

“We have not seen any (tornados) signatures yet,” Cannon said.

Cannon said Tropical Storm Irene “will move out of Maine as fast as it moved in.”

The expectation is that the storm will move out of Maine sometime after midnight, but strong winds could continue through the night.

“Tomorrow (Monday) is looking like a nice day,” Cannon said.