PORTLAND — Utility crews have their work cut out for them as they restore power to thousands of electric customers after high winds caused widespread outages.

Customers began losing power Thursday evening as the wind picked up.

The National Weather Service reported gusts of 77 mph in Eastport, 62 mph in Frenchboro, 60 mph in Brooksville and 58 mph in Bar Harbor.

Winds gusted to over 50 mph in some places around Lewiston and Auburn, accompanied by enough driving rain to drop nearly 2 inches in areas.

On Friday morning, Emera Maine reported that more than 12,000 homes and businesses in the dark. Central Maine Power was working to restore power for more than 5,000 customers.

The outages in eastern Maine were widespread, making it a challenge for utility crews. Emera Maine asked its customers for patience.

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