A storm system packing heavy rains and high winds is expected to arrive in Maine on Thursday night, potentially causing more power outages just before the holiday weekend even as crews work to repair damage from last weekend’s snowstorm.

Early forecasts vary, but most meteorologists predict heavy rain and high winds over most of Maine, although how windy it will be is not yet clear.

The rain will start Thursday night and winds are expected to pick up late Friday morning, gusting as high as 50-60 mph in the Portland area before subsiding Friday night. Wind gusts will be strongest along the coast, but may only reach about 40 mph, said Mike Cempa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

“I don’t think there is a way that we will get out of a windy period on Friday,” Cempa said, adding that forecasters should have a better handle on the storm by Wednesday. “If there is any doubt now, 48 hours (in advance of a storm) is when we start to lose doubt.”

The weather service issued a hazardous weather outlook Tuesday afternoon.

“A large and strong low pressure system will impact the Northeast Thursday night through Friday night bringing the threat of heavy rain, flooding and strong damaging winds,” the weather service said. “Astronomical tides will be high also and coastal flooding is likely Friday morning.”


The weather service said the storm could drop several inches of snow in the mountains and foothills Thursday night, and that the highest wind gusts are expected Friday afternoon. Heavy rain and snowmelt will cause some river and flash flooding. Two to 4 inches of rain is forecast.

The holiday weekend forecast raises the threat of more power outages as some areas were still waiting to get power back Tuesday, days after a nor’easter dropped as much as 27 inches of snow in some parts of Maine and knocked out power to tens of thousands of Central Maine Power Co. and Versant Power customers. Restoration efforts have been slowed by the large amounts of wet, heavy snow in inland areas that caused trees to collapse onto roads and power lines.

An arborist with Ironwood Tree Services cuts away branches of a large tree that came down across Shore Road in York on top of power lines on April 19. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The nor’easter hit Oxford County particularly hard. Up to 2 feet of heavy, wet snow blanketed the county during the slow-moving storm Friday and Saturday, with Milton Township hitting the jackpot at 27 inches, according to the weather service. More than half of CMP’s 42,000 customers in Oxford County lost power during the storm,

Only a few hundred CMP customers, most in Oxford County, remained without power Tuesday evening, according to CMP’s outage website.

CMP spokesperson Catharine Hartnett said the utility is prepared to deal with next blast of weather.

“We take these storms very seriously and we do prepare,” Hartnett said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening. “And we realize that it’s a holiday weekend.”

She said crews are prepared to work through the weekend, even if it means working on Christmas Day.

Hartnett said most of the out-of-state and private line contractors the company hired to restore power after last weekend will remain on call for Friday’s storm. Those contractors came to Maine from Canada, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. She was unable to provide exact numbers.

“Many will stay, some will leave, but we are planning to hold many of the contractors that worked last weekend,” Hartnett said.

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