‘It’s a mess’

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Officials said Monday it will be several days before some roads are reopened and power is restored across the state because of a powerful storm that blew into Maine late Sunday night with winds topping 70 mph.

Central Maine Power said the number of outages — more than 400,000 at midday Monday — was more than during the Ice Storm of 1998.

There were no reports of deaths from the wind and rain storm, which toppled trees and limbs onto hundreds of roads, flooded highways, took down power lines and forced school closings across the area.

As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, 355,894 CMP customers were without service, according to the company’s website. Cumberland County accounted for 100,591 of the outages, according to CMP.

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“It’s a mess,” Tim Hardy, director of Franklin County Emergency Management agency, said. He asked that people stay home, if they can.

Because of the widespread damage and dangerous conditions, Topsham officials postponed Halloween festivities, asking families to go trick-or-treating Friday. Some other towns did the same.

The National Weather Service office in Gray reported rain totals of 2.45 inches in Lewiston-Auburn, 2.2 inches in Livermore Falls, 1.51 inches in Farmington, 3.2 inches in Hartford, and 2.69 inches in Rangeley.

They also reported wind gusts of up to 49 mph in Androscoggin County, 64 mph in Oxford County and 51 mph in Franklin County. The highest recorded wind gust was 71 mph in South Bristol.

Maine State Police issued a statement Monday afternoon urging motorists to drive slower and be more cautious.
MSP Col. Robert Williams said hundreds of roads are blocked by trees and power lines and there will be vast areas in complete darkness with no street lights, storefronts or homes to help illuminate the way.
“My advice, especially after sunset, is to slow down and be on the lookout for debris in the roadways,” he said in the statement. “The hazardous driving conditions may last for several days until power is fully restored.”
Donald Poisson directs traffic around a downed tree on South Main Street in Auburn on Monday morning across from his store, Poisson & Sons on South Main Street. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Shelters were being set up in several towns as the National Weather Service reported temperatures were expected to drop near the freezing point Monday night.

Early Monday morning, Lewiston had more than 50 streets blocked by trees, according to Lewiston Public Works Director Dave Jones.

“The crews did a fantastic job responding to the challenge and at 3 p.m. this afternoon all the roads are at least safely passable,” Jones said. “There will be a lot of cleanup work to do over the next several days as much of the debris was just cleared out of the travel-way and pushed onto the shoulder of the roads.”

Jones said CMP told him they expect power restoration to take up to several days.

A path was cleared for vehicles to get into the drinking water treatment facility at Lake Auburn, which was running on a generator Monday.

“Well Done to our great team, which includes our police and fire folks who helped in our response,” Jones said. “We will do the best we can to clean up over the next few days and we appreciate the support and patience of the citizens of the City.”

Auburn Police Deputy Chief Jason Moen said there was extensive tree damage throughout the city.

“We will continue to monitor roads still closed due to tree damage,” he said.

Auburn Recreation was open until 8 p.m. Monday for people without power to warm up and shower.

Lewiston-Auburn schools were closed Monday because some schools were without power and some roads were not passable.

Both superintendents are optimistic that school will open Tuesday, but Auburn Superintendent Katy Grondin said that’s a call she may not make until early Tuesday when she has the latest road conditions.

Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said three schools were without power Monday: Farwell, Martel and McMahon elementary schools.

By late Monday, Farwell had power. “I’m not sure about McMahon and Martel,” Webster said. “I’m anticipating they’ll be back on Tuesday. Though I know some places may be without power for quite a period of time.”

He expects Lewiston roads will be passable by Tuesday.

“Between Public Works and Central Maine Power, there’s a lot of work happening today with downed power lines.”

If one or two schools do not have power Tuesday, school for everyone else will open, Webster said.

Auburn’s Grondin said Fairview Elementary School didn’t have power on Monday, but schools closed after officials announced a number of roads closed because of downed trees, limbs and lines.

By late Monday, all Auburn School Department buildings had power.

“It’s more the roads,” she said. “I’m expecting to open Tuesday, but I’ve got to consult with the city doing tree removal. It could be a wait and see, a morning call like a snow call.”

In Livermore, Administrative Assistant Amy Byron said she had been at the Town Office since 5 a.m.

“There was no power at home or the office,” she said. The power came on shortly after 9 a.m. “We’ll be open by 10 a.m. We’ll be here as long as there’s power.”

Byron said there were still a lot of trees down, and a pole was down on River Road, as well as standing water on some roads and clogged catch basins.

The historic 1794 Shaker Meetinghouse in New Gloucester was hit by one of the multiple trees that toppled in Shaker Village.

Franklin County

In Franklin County, about 15 roads were either partially closed or closed Monday with some reopening before noon.

Schools in Regional School Unit 9 in Farmington, RSU 73 in Jay, RSU 78 in Rangeley and SAD 58 in Kingfield were closed.

Farmington Fire and Rescue responded to numerous trees and lines down Monday morning. Several roads were closed until the wires, trees and rising waters from local streams were cleared, Fire Chief Terry Bell said.

High Street in Farmington, from Stewart to Maple Avenue, was closed shortly after 7 a.m. when a tree fell on a line and snapped two utility poles across from the entrance to 82 High Street.

Another call took them to Mason Road at 7 a.m. where a tree fell onto a house porch, he said.
From 5 a.m. to about 9 a.m., firefighters responded to approximately 20 calls of trees down on lines on Webster Road, Whittier Road, High Street, Morrison Hill Road, Mason Road, Clark Road, Osborne Road, Bailey and Davis Road, Hovey Road, Weeks Mills Road, Clover Mill Road, Red Schoolhouse Road, Town Farm Road.
The department also helped close Route 27 at the Route 4 turn in Farmington, Bell said.
Downtown Farmington and several Main Street businesses were closed Monday due to a lack of power. The University of Maine at Farmington was closed for the day.
In Chesterville, trees and wires were down on the Chesterville Hill Extension and elsewhere in town, Selectman Tyler Jenness said. Route 41 was closed between the Stinchfield Hill and George Thomas roads.

Oxford County

Schools across the Oxford County were closed Monday because of power outages, flooded or blocked roads.

Anne Pastore, administrative assistant for Otisfield, was among the thousands of people who lost power early Monday morning.

“I just spoke with the fire chief and EMS, and they said there are a lot of trees down everywhere in town,” Pastore said from the Town Office, which was being powered by a generator. “I don’t know anybody in town who has power without the help of a generator. Most sections of town were hit hard.”

Pastore said the Fire Department “has been out since midnight.”

“At one point, there was a tree down in the road and the firetruck couldn’t get back to the station, so they had to call CMP to help,” Pastore said. “It’s been a well-coordinated effort between the road crew, the fire crew and EMS.”

She invited anyone without power who needed water to come to the Town Office for assistance.

Route 2 in Bethel was closed midday Monday because of flooding, and Route 26 south out of Bethel was closed because it was covered with water,

The town was accessible via Route 5 south of Bethel and by way of Vernon Street, according to local travelers.
Andover Selectman Jane Rich said Monday at noon that Route 120 by Grimaldi Field was flooded, as well as Covered Bridge Road.

Rich said a section of Route 5 before the Green Bridge on the Rumford side is flooded.

She said she asked Road Commissioner Mark Farrington how the roads were in the area Monday morning.

“’You don’t want to know’” was his response, she said.

A damaged car rests next to a downed tree on Perkins Ridge Road in Auburn on Monday. (Marc Tremblay photo)

A damaged car rests next to a downed tree on Perkins Ridge Road in Auburn on Monday. (Marc Tremblay photo)

Route 2 in Bethel was closed in both directions midday Monday because of flooding, and Route 26 south out of Bethel was closed because of water over the road. (Alison Aloisio/Bethel Citizen)

 

Landon Harvey, 11, of Auburn, walked down the road from his house to check out the tree that was blocking South Main Street in Auburn on Monday morning. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Mike Caron surveys the damage in the front yard of his home on East Avenue in Lewiston on Monday morning. For 15 years he and his family have hosted a haunted house here for hundreds of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. “With the damage to the haunted house out back, we are going to have to cancel this year as it’s just not safe,” Caron said. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A resident of Sleeper Road in Lewiston who wished not to be identified looks at a tree that took down power lines and blocked the road Monday morning, preventing him and other residents from leaving until crews cleaned up the mess. ( Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Traffic backs up in all directions as a utility worker restores power at East Avenue and Lisbon streets in Lewiston on Monday morning, after a powerful storm wreaked havoc on the area. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Traffic backs up in all directions as a utility worker restores power at East Avenue and Lisbon streets in Lewiston on Monday morning, after a powerful storm wreaked havoc on the area. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A large tree on the front lawn of Community Little Theatre on Academy Street in Auburn came down overnight during a powerful storm that wreaked havoc in the area. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Peyton Dyer, 11 of Olive Street in Auburn runs past a tree down on Roy Avenue, just down the street from his house. Several trees were on power lines that cut electricity to the area. He was running to a friend’s house to get buckets to help bail his flooded basement because the sump pump quit when the power went out. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

An uprooted tree rests on a house at Dawn Avenue and Mary Street in Lewiston on Monday morning. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

The Androscoggin River in Bethel was going over its banks and into the yard of Keith and Alyssa Savage of Bethel on Monday. (Alyssa Savage photo)

Ducks swim in the overflowing Androscoggin River on Monday in Bethel while a rainbow peeked down from a cloudy sky. (Alyssa Savage photo)

Water floods Greenwood Road in Greenwood, after heavy rain and powerful winds struck Maine on Sunday evening and Monday. It was one of three flooded spots along the road and a tree blocked the other end near Howe Hill Road earlier Monday morning. (Erin Place/Advertiser Democrat) 

A traffic cone placed by the Greenwood Highway Department crew early Monday morning warned motorists of a flooded road ahead. It was one of three spots flooded after a strong rain and wind storm struck Maine. (Erin Place/Advertiser Democrat)

Andrea Farrington of West Bethel captured an entire tree floating down the Androscoggin River on Monday after heavy rains and strong winds caused power outages and a big mess. (Andrea Farrington photo)

A broken tree nears the edge of the dam Walton’s Mill Pond Park in West Farmington on Monday. Another part of the tree hangs over the edge of the dam. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)  

Hay bales in a field off Intervale Road in Temple are surrounded by flood waters from Temple Stream on Monday. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

A falling tree snapped two utility poles on High Street on Monday morning. The road was closed from Stewart Avenue to Maple Avenue, Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell said. (Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

The scene in front of Davis Park and the Route 26 and Parkway intersection in Bethel on Monday afternoon, where the road was completely covered in water after heavy rains Sunday night into Monday. (Karen Davis photo)

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