Powerful wind gusts knocked out power Sunday afternoon and evening to thousands of electric utility customers across Maine.

The wind gusts, which reached 50 mph in some places, threw tree limbs onto power lines and traffic lights, cutting electricity to thousands of homes and businesses, causing traffic lights to malfunction, and forcing police to close roads after wires fell into roadways.

About 6 p.m. Sunday, the outages were so widespread that Central Maine Power Co. reported countywide outages in Lincoln, Kennebec, Waldo, and Somerset counties. Kennebec County had nearly 6,000 outages at that time, according to the CMP website.

As the evening wore on, CMP’s power restoration efforts brought the peak number of outages down from more than 30,000 to just over 3,000 outages by 11:15 p.m.

More than 1,400 Emera Maine customers in the northern part of the state were still experiencing weather-related outages late Sunday night.

Chris Legro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said he was not surprised the wind gusts were tossing tree limbs onto power lines and in turn causing those lines to fall into roadways.


“It’s to be expected when you have wind gusts that are reaching speeds this high,” Legro said Sunday afternoon.

Legro said the gusts intensified Sunday afternoon but by Sunday evening the wind storm had begun to calm down. Wind speeds at the Portland Jetport dropped from 39 mph at 7 p.m. to just 14 mph by 8:30 p.m.

He said the weather system that moved through Maine early Sunday brought an Arctic cold front behind it that created the gusts. He said cold air allows stronger winds that have been aloft to move closer to the surface.

In southern Maine, several police departments reported having to close roads while crews removed downed utility wires.

Quaker Ridge Road in Casco and Windward Shore Road in Raymond were closed Sunday afternoon, as was Cross Point Road in Edgecomb.

Police said utility wires fell onto Falmouth Road near Falmouth Corner and Royal Road in North Yarmouth.


There were reports of downed power lines or downed trees on Route 1 in Scarborough, Cooks Mills Road in Casco, and Hannaford Cove Road in Cape Elizabeth. Freeport and Lisbon police reported that damage caused by high winds had caused traffic lights in their towns to malfunction Sunday afternoon.

Communities in northern and eastern Maine also were hit by power outages.

“Weather-related outages were reported from Milo to Dixmont, Deer Isle to Gouldsboro,” said Bob Potts, a spokesman for Emera Maine.

Potts urged motorists to slow down, move over, or change lanes when approaching utility crews working on downed power lines.

The National Weather Service is forecasting light snow Monday morning with the potential for up to 2 inches. The snow will taper off by afternoon, but it will remain cold, with the high temperature in Portland reaching 33 degrees.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:


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