A powerful nor’easter brought high winds and rain to coastal regions of Maine on Tuesday night after lashing the Mid-Atlantic states during the day.

At 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, CMP’s outage center was reporting 6,269 power outages, with more than 2,700 of them in Androscoggin County. Cumberland County was reporting 1,594. The hardest hit town in Cumberland County was Portland, with 1,478 outages.

Around 7 a.m. Wednesday, CMP was reporting nearly 30,000 outages statewide, but that number had been cut in half by 10 a.m. By 1:30 p.m., it had been reduced even further to 3,995 outages.

Only a couple of flights at the Portland International Jetport were canceled, both by United Airlines, according to the jetport’s flight information log. Flights bound for Newark, New Jersey, on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to Washington, D.C., were canceled, but no reasons were given.

The storm was expected to dump as much as 2 inches of rain along the Maine coast with wind gusts as strong as 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

Forecasters predicted the hardest hit region would be coastal towns in York County and southern New Hampshire before the storm moves out of Maine sometime Wednesday afternoon.

A wind advisory was issued Tuesday afternoon by the weather service for coastal Maine from York County to Rockland in Knox County. The advisory is in effect through noon Wednesday. The storm also could cause flooding in low lying regions or on streets where storm drains become clogged with leaves.

While forecasters focused on the nor’easter’s potential impact on heavily populated regions of New York and New Jersey, Maine found itself in the crosshairs of two storms.

“We are seeing the merging of two storms, one moving up the coast and the other from the Midwest,” said weather service meteorologist Sarah Thunberg. “The storms are converging over New England.”

The impact was expected to be nor’easter-like with wind gusts that pack a punch and heavy rainfall. Portland could get up to 1.5 inches of rain while coastal areas in York County could see up to 2 inches before the storm moves on.

Nor’easters in October are not uncommon in Maine.

More than 219,000 homes and businesses lost power after a powerful nor’easter pummeled the state in mid-October 2019. Strong winds and heavy rains felled trees throughout southern Maine, downing power lines, damaging cars and homes, and delaying or canceling school across the region. Damage along the coast was also severe, with sailboats washed onto Willard Beach in South Portland and elsewhere.

Mainers were hit with another storm a couple of weeks later around Halloween that knocked out power to more than 180,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers. Restoring power took about a week in some areas.

Martha Ritchie of Long Island, New York, stands on the sidewalk along Congress Street in Portland while smoking a cigarette in the rain on Tuesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

CMP said in a statement Tuesday evening that it was prepared for Wednesday’s storm.

“We have 200 CMP line workers, 472 contractors and 22o tree workers ready to respond,” said Kerri Therriault, the company’s director of electric operations. “We will ensure safety, assess damage and restore power overnight with a full contingent ready to respond before dawn. Given the expected winds speeds we must be very cautious about line workers in buckets as it is simply unsafe for them to be in the air in high winds.”

CMP anticipated that most outages would be caused by trees and branches falling on power lines. Trees still have plenty of leaves, making branches heavier and more prone to snapping in high winds. Heavy rain was likely to saturate and soften the ground, leaving trees more vulnerable to getting uprooted.

New York and New Jersey issued emergency declarations ahead of Wednesday’s storm. Parts of New Jersey had been soaked by more than 5 inches of rain Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, leading to flooding in some areas. Strong winds were forecast to buffet the area through Wednesday, bringing the potential for widespread power outages, officials said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy delayed the opening of state offices until 11 a.m. Tuesday because of the wind and rain, calling the day “a wash out.” The storm prompted Rutgers University to move classes online for the day, while some other colleges and school districts canceled instruction.

Wind gusts as high as 75 mph were forecast on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, with sustained winds as high as 45 mph. The weather service warned that waves off the state’s coast could reach 19 feet.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority suspended its ferry service Tuesday and Wednesday. In Salem, which hosts one of the nation’s largest Halloween festivals through October, the town canceled ferry service to Boston, urging visitors to take a commuter train instead.

Federal officials warned about possible delays or cancellations across the region.

In the waters off New York’s Long Island, the U.S. Coast Guard and local police searched Tuesday for a kayaker who did not return from a trip Monday night. He left a few hours before heavy rain started falling.

The storm arrives just weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Ida inundated the Northeast and caused deadly flooding. At least 50 people from Virginia to Connecticut died as rainwater trapped cars on submerged waterways and flooded subway stations and basements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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