Maine largely escaped damage Friday from a soaking and glancing blow delivered by Tropical Storm Elsa as it swept across the state and into the Gulf of Maine after first pummeling much of the East Coast.

While the storm dumped 4 inches of rain on parts of the state, forecasts of possible dangerous surf and flash-flooding never materialized.

And despite the drenching rains Friday, drought conditions continue in much of Maine, said meteorologist Chris Kimble at the National Weather Service in Gray late Friday.

“It rained and drained for the most part,” Kimble said. While Maine has seen a lot more rain in July than it did earlier in the year, the state’s rainfall total remains below normal for 2021.

“Even with today’s rain we are still about 5 inches below normal on the year,” Kimble said. He said moderate drought conditions continue in the southern and western two-thirds of Maine while severe drought conditions remain in the northern third, including the mountains and lakes regions.


The storm only dumped about half the rain on the mountains as it did in more central and coastal areas, according to weather service rainfall totals.

Kimble said there were no reports of flooding or road closures and the ground soaked up much of the deluge. A flash flood warning that had been set to expire at 9 p.m. was lifted early, the weather service said.

Emergency dispatchers in Portland and in York and Cumberland counties said there was little to no reportable damage, flooding or road closures from the storm.

Portland got more than 2 inches of rain during the day as Elsa was downgraded from a tropical storm to post-tropical cyclone, similar to a nor’easter, on Friday afternoon. Rain had stopped in southern Maine by about 6 p.m. and weather service forecasts predicted the storm largely exiting the state by midnight.

A truck plows through deep pooling water on Commercial Street in Portland on Friday in the heavy rain from Elsa. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Rainfall totals reported on the roof of Maine Medical Center and at the Portland International Jetport were 2.14 inches and 2.35 inches, respectively.

The storm also caused few delays for travelers as only three flights out of 36 into or out of the jetport were canceled Friday, while another four were delayed.


Power outages in Maine also remained relatively low Friday night. About 573 of Central Maine Power C0.’s 656,586 customers were without power as of  7 p.m., with the largest number of outages in Waldo County, where 425 customers were without power. Another 1,117 customers in Versant Power Co.’s northern Maine coverage area were also without electricity, according to the two companies’ outage reporting websites. It was unclear whether the outages were storm related.

Hancock and Lincoln counties saw some of the largest rainfall totals with 4 inches in New Harbor and 3.92 inches in the town of Liberty as of 6:51 p.m.

While the flash flood warning was lifted, a high surf advisory for all of coastal Maine remained in effect until 11 a.m. Saturday. A small craft marine advisory for ocean travel was set to expire at 2 a.m. Saturday. The storm was expected to produce waves in the 5-8 foot range.

Earlier in the day, the weather service urged people not to swim in the ocean or stand on rocky outcrops. It also warned campers to stay away from rivers and streams.

The fast-moving  storm pounded New York on Friday, toppling trees and hindering some rail and subway service.

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