This home at 555 Belfast Road in Camden was struck by lightning on Saturday. Camden Fire and Rescue photo

Violent thunderstorms, lightning strikes, power outages, intense humidity and random microbursts were nothing more than a bad memory Sunday as most of Maine headed into a stretch of sunny, dry weather.

More than 18,000 customers lost electrical power Saturday afternoon and evening as thunderstorms packing high winds and downpours pushed trees and branches onto power lines across the state.

Nearly everyone who lost power in the Central Maine Power and Emera Maine service areas had their electricity restored by Sunday night.

Mike Cempa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, confirmed on Sunday that a “microburst,” reported around 3:45 p.m., downed several trees in the Androscoggin County town of Leeds. Radar confirmed that microbursts also occurred in the towns of South Paris and Turner on Saturday.

According to the weather service, a microburst occurs when rain and hail can no longer be suspended aloft by the updraft and come rushing down to the surface, carried by “intense” winds.

In addition to thunderstorms and microbursts, much of the state suffered through some of the most humid conditions of the year Saturday. In Portland, the heat index hit 99, which is extremely high, Cempa said. The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.


The storms also produced a lightning strike that caused a fire and extensive damage to an oceanfront home in Camden. News Center Maine reported that lightning struck the home at 555 Belfast Road, also known as Route 1.

The home’s owner, Ward Graffam, told firefighters he was watching TV when “he heard the largest bang he has ever heard in his life,” the TV station reported. Graffam, his wife and their dogs were not injured.

A Rockport firefighter was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center after part of a second-floor ceiling fell on his head during the Camden fire. He was treated for neck pain and released from the hospital. Route 1 had to be closed for several hours, according to the Fire Department.

Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley told News Center Maine that firefighters had to knock down Sheetrock and tear out insulation in order to gain access to the fire, which entered void spaces on the second floor.

“The heat and humidity was taking its toll,” Farley said. “It took quite a few firefighters to get that work done.”

The heat and humidity dissipated during the overnight hours and by Sunday morning most of the state was experiencing sunshine and cool breezes.


The weather service posted on its Facebook page Sunday morning a view from its Gray webcam showing cloud-free skies. In the post, the forecaster wrote that the view shows the start of a “picture perfect day.”

Cempa is forecasting that the nice weather will stay with most of the state through Wednesday, with bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s to low 80s in the Portland area.

“It’s going to be sunny and dry, not too hot, and not too humid,” Cempa said.


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