Mainers were treated to some mild weather after Wednesday night’s downpour knocked out power for 12,000 customers.

The remnants of Hurricane Patricia delivered a wet, windy morning commute Thursday but by late afternoon, skies had cleared and the air temperature had risen, said James Brown of the National Weather Service in Gray.

“We were in the warm sector of the low-pressure system. It was sunny, which pushed a lot of people into the 60s and 70s,” Brown said.

Friday is likely to be in the mid-50s on the coast and somewhat cooler inland, he said.

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph brought down branches and leaves and knocked out power in some areas of southern Maine overnight.

By 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the number of outages was down to 694. More than 6,000 customers in Auburn had been without power at 5 p.m.

More than 1,400 customers were without power in Freeport at one point and more than 1,000 customers were in the dark in Belfast. By 11 a.m., power had been restored to most customers in those communities.

The outage in Freeport was caused by an unusual fire on a utility pole across from the police station that was unrelated to tree branches.

During the height of the storm overnight, the top of the pole ignited and burned the core, said Dave Rankin, a safety specialist overseeing the work on Route 1. It might have been the result of a faulty insulator that malfunctioned in the heavy wind and rain, he said.

The fire burned the top section of the pole, shutting down the power lines there, Rankin said. Workers trimmed off the burnt section and installed new crossbars so the lines could be restrung. Power was cut for a portion of the early morning to the southern half of town, including L.L. Bean’s corporate and distribution facilities.

Gus Quattrucci was one of those without power in South Freeport. He and his wife were awake at 5:30 a.m. when a nearby tree snapped in heavy wind, blocking Main Street in South Freeport. Quattrucci said they then saw a transformer on a nearby pole erupt in blue light. He said he hoped to get the firewood when crews show up to clear it.

Forecasters had warned that higher than normal tides and heavy rains might bring minor flooding to coastal areas, but there was little of that in Portland. When the astronomically high tide hit just before 1 p.m., the sun was shining and only the Portland Pier was partially underwater.

 


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