Wet, windy weather is expected to roar into Maine on Thursday night, raising the prospect of some flooding and scattered power outages Friday.

The area bordered by Portland, Belfast, Jackman and Rangeley is forecast to get 2 to 3 inches of rain with wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour, the National Weather Service in Gray said Wednesday.

Storm drains and ditches could become clogged with leaves, leading to flooding, and the weather service has issued a flood watch from Thursday at 8 p.m. and through 8 a.m. Saturday.

“It is going to be an all day event on Friday,” weather service meteorologist Jon Palmer said Wednesday night. Wind gusts will be strongest Thursday night into Friday morning before gradually subsiding, he said.

The highest rainfall totals are likely to fall in the western Maine mountains and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, according to the weather service.

Despite the strong winds and heavy rain, forecasters do not think this storm will rival a devastating October 2017 storm that knocked out power to about 484,400 Central Maine Power customers at its peak. CMP said the number of outages caused by the 2017 storm, which struck on Halloween, exceeded the peak number during the historic Ice Storm of 1998 and set a new outage record dating back to 1899, when CMP was founded.


“Since that storm (October 2017), we have definitely improved our forecasting abilities,” CMP spokesperson Catharine Hartnett said Wednesday evening. She said the utility has been tracking the storm for days and is aware of the damage potential. Hartnett said the company is expecting high winds Thursday night, especially along the coast and at higher elevations.

Repair crews have been put on notice and are prepared to go to work if outages occur.

“We’re ready,” Hartnett said.

Fall foliage conditions are peaking this week along the coast, from Kittery to Machias, and in western Maine from Portland to Fryeburg, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s website, MaineFoliage.com, but the storm could make a dent in viewing opportunities.

Forecasters said the winds and rain could bring a lot of leaves down, but News Center Maine meteorologist Keith Carson wrote in his Maine Forecast on Wednesday that he doesn’t think the storm will end foliage season. Carson said the only time winds like this put an end to the foliage season is when leaves are already about to fall.

“Otherwise, it takes the same amount of force to defoliate trees when the leaves are red as it does when they are green – and that’s a LOT of force,” Carson said.

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