Damaged trees and electrical wires were reported across Somerset and Franklin counties Monday afternoon, cutting power to thousands as the area weathered strong winds and golf ball-size hail amid tornado and thunderstorm warnings.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service office in Caribou confirmed that tornado touched down Monday evening about 5 miles west of New Sweden, a town in Aroostook County.

Maureen Hastings, a meteorologist with the weather service in Caribou, said a co-worker called in a report of a funnel intermittently touching down around 5:45 p.m. His observations were backed up with a video of the tornado filmed by Krista Beaupre of Perham. The 10-second video was posted on the weather service’s Facebook page.

Hastings said the weather service will send a team to the area to investigate the extent of damage on Tuesday morning.

In Somerset and Franklin counties, no serious damage was reported by midafternoon as the worst of the storm cleared the area, although there were reports of trees blocking traffic on some local roads.

More than 6,000 customers of Central Maine Power were without electricity as of 11 p.m. Monday, with most of those outages in Somerset County, according to the company’s website. Emera Maine, which serves northern Maine, reported more than 400 outages, with most of those centered in Penobscot County.

In addition to severe thunderstorm warnings and a flood watch in the Skowhegan area, the National Weather Service on Monday also issued a tornado warning in southern Somerset County and central Franklin County, although no tornadoes materialized.

“We still haven’t heard of any reports of tornadoes, and there are currently no warnings left (in western Maine),” meteorologist Tom Hawley of the National Weather Service said around 4:30 p.m.

The state usually has about one or two tornadoes per year, on average, according to Hawley.

Earlier in the afternoon, the weather service had issued severe thunderstorm warnings for northwestern Waldo County, southeastern Somerset County and northeastern Kennebec County as well as a flood advisory for southeastern Somerset County around the Skowhegan area.

More than 70 reports of trees and wires down came into the Somerset County Emergency Management Agency in less than two hours Monday afternoon, but none of the reports involved serious damage or injuries, Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Smith said.

“It’s been busy – literally nuts,” Smith said, “but so far there hasn’t been anything major.”

In Franklin County, there were reports of golf ball-size hail and strong winds in the Kingfield area, as well as trees down in the Eustis and Rangeley area, said Franklin County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Hardy.

The administrative assistant to Kingfield’s Board of Selectmen, Leanna Targett, said the hail was “definitely” golf ball-size. She said around 2:30 p.m. that the hail had stopped and turned to rain.

Press Herald Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: rachel_ohm

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