TOPSHAM FIRE AND PUBLIC WORKS CREWS cut and move debris on Foreside Road on Monday in an effort to make the road passable again.

TOPSHAM FIRE AND PUBLIC WORKS CREWS cut and move debris on Foreside Road on Monday in an effort to make the road passable again.

BRUNSWICK

Hundreds of thousands are left without power throughout Maine, after high winds Monday knocked out lines and trees, leaving many roads — particularly in the Midcoast — impassable. Recovery from the storm could take at least a week in some areas.

About 16,800 out of 21,200 Central Maine Power customers were without electricity in Sagadahoc County, and 8,125 out of about 11,000 Brunswick customers were still in the dark this morning. Nearly all other Midcoast Cumberland County communities — such as Freeport, Pownal and Durham — were also still without power, according to CMP’s website.

A TREE FELL ACROSS Winter Street in Topsham, narrowly missing a house.

A TREE FELL ACROSS Winter Street in Topsham, narrowly missing a house.

As of around 8 a.m., CMP reported nearly 345,000 outages across Maine, down from more than 400,000 reported midday Monday.

School districts — including Brunswick School Department, Maine School Administrative District 75, Regional School Unit 1 and RSU 5 — remained closed today. Many town offices were also closed.

CENTRAL MAINE POWER worker Gary Robinson cuts a limb away from wires on Middlesex Road in Topsham on Monday.

CENTRAL MAINE POWER worker Gary Robinson cuts a limb away from wires on Middlesex Road in Topsham on Monday.

On Monday, Bath Iron Works announced it was closing all facilities for the first shift Monday, opening for the second shift.

Many businesses were closed. Others, such as the Hannaford supermarket in downtown Brunswick, remained open, selling wares by emergency lights powered by generator.

“This is the largest number of outages in the company’s history,” said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice in a statement on Monday. “It is significantly larger than the 1998 ice storm that people remember so well. Our crews have focused today’s efforts on making downed lines safe — a critical first step in our process, and restoring service to hospitals and other critical facilities.”

The company expects to provide a better timeline for the recovery later today.

“Our crews are working as quickly and safely as possible, and we ask that people refrain from approaching them with questions,” said Rice. “We encourage customers to go to our website for restoration updates, and let our crews focus on safety as they go about their tasks.”

Local public safety crews said the real damage from the tropical storm remnants were reported at around 5 a.m. Monday. According to the National Weather Service, winds blew as hard as 44 miles per hour in Sagadahoc County and 51 miles per hour in Brunswick.

Fallen trees and branches made for hazardous conditions throughout the area. Route 1 southbound near the West Bath/Brunswick line was backed up for about three hours as crews worked to remove debris that had blocked the highway.

Colleen Moore of Topsham narrowly escaped injury after two large pine trees fell onto her Pleasant Point Road home. Moore recalled lying in bed, listening to the wind that sounded like a freight train.

“You could just feel when it was going to get slammed,” Moore said.

She estimated the power went out at about 4:30 a.m. and at 5 a.m., “kaboom.”

A branch crashed through the roof into her bedroom only feet from her bed.

“It was scary,” Moore said. “Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of neighbors and friends stop by and call, text and make sure I’m OK, and what do I need. They’re over here chain sawing. We have a great neighborhood and I have a lot of great friends from my congregation, and family in the vicinity that are helping.”

CMP crews spent most of Monday making downed lines safe but were also able to restore power to some customers, Rice said. However, it could be more than a week before power is restored in some places.

“We’ve got trees and lines down all over the place,” she said. “We’ll probably know a little more as more assessors get out in the field and get pictures of the damage,” Rice said. “Right now, they’re just slinking in, bit by bit.”

Rice advised that people should be prepared for a multi-day restoration and hopes CMP will have a better timeline by tonight.

CMP had hundreds of its own two-person crews working on storm recovery Monday, along with 105 crews from contractors in Maine and New Brunswick and 108 tree crews, according to a CMP press release. Widespread damage throughout New England and eastern Canada presents an added challenge in the restoration. Additional crews are expected to arrive soon from Canada; others from as far away as Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are on their way.

“One problem we’re having is people ignoring our barricades and warning devices telling them to not drive over power lines and under trees,” Bath Fire Capt. Christopher Cummings said. “We’ve had to replace multiple cones thrown to the side.”

He estimated the fire department had responded to as many as 75 calls as of late Monday afternoon. Amidst the storm calls, there hasn’t been many rescue calls, he noted.

“I will say that the city has stepped up, starting in the city manager’s office to the police department to public works and parks and rec for an all hands on deck to try to restore things as fast as we can, and everybody has worked well,” Cummings said.

Cummings cautioned people driving at night to proceed slowly as that there are still low lying branches, wires and other debris that may be hard to see.

“I would just urge people to be patient,” Cummings said. “We’ve seen a couple minor cases where people have been frustrated because everyone wants their power on. We’re working with CMP trying to get things as fast as we can but it’s a big job right now. It really is.”

Note: Colleen Moore is a relative of Times Record reporter Darcie Moore.


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