CARIBOU — The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for most of east, central and Down East Maine for most of Thursday.
“Those areas will be getting very strong winds, beginning very late tonight and continuing through the day into early evening on Thursday,” Victor J. Nouhan, meteorologist at the NWS station in Caribou, said Wednesday. “Winds will be 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts 55 to 65, especially along the coast.”
The warning was still more than two hours away from going into effect Wednesday night, but 1,642 Bangor Hydro Electric Co. customers had already suffered power outages.
Customers in 13 Maine municipalities were in the dark as of 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. Those towns included Alton, Corinth, Eddington, Ellsworth, Exeter, Glenburn, Hudson, Kenduskeag, Levant, Machias, Pembroke, Perry and Winter Harbor. The largest outage was in Corinth, where 1,478 customers were affected. Bangor Hydro was estimating the time for restoration of power to be around 11:30 p.m. for most of those areas.
The warning is in effect from midnight through 9 p.m. on Thursday.
Weather was a concern in other ways as well. Area police officers responded to a few calls concerning vehicles off the road or involved in crashes due to poor visibility from heavy fog and some patches of ice. None of the accidents involved serious injuries or fatalities.
Bangor Hydro was already reporting some outages around 6 p.m. in Penobscot County including Alton, Corinth, East Corinth, Eddington, Glenburn, Hudson, Kenduskeag, Levant and Veazie.
As of 6:45 p.m., almost 1,500 customers were without power.
“Crews started arriving around 6:15 p.m. and the power in those affected and the power will remain out for an estimated two to three hours in some places,” said Bob Potts, Bangor Hydro communications specialist.
By 7:45 p.m., the number of reported outages had plunged to 28 and the affected areas shifted to Bangor (Hildreth Street), Addison and Machias.
At 8:45 p.m., the total shot up to 130 with almost 100 Hydro customers on Broadway in Machias losing power, and roughly a dozen each in Addison (Side Road and Redimarker Lane), Pembroke (Brickyard and Ox Cove roads) and Winter Harbor (Main and Sargent streets).
Potts was unsure what caused the outages, given the high winds which are expected to begin around midnight, when the NWS advisory goes into effect, had not really begun yet.
“A lot of it could be that the lines in a certain area were near branches hanging just right and the lines somehow were hit,” he said.