AUBURN — On Gamage Avenue, wind snatched a wooden chair off Gail Scipione Shelley’s porch and smashed it, flinging the remains onto her lawn. 

A mile down the road, at the top of Goff Hill, Randy Burgess heard a crack followed by a crash as the pine tree in his yard came down.

With snapping powerlines, trees across roads and general mayhem, Thursday had all the chaos of winter but without the snow.

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

It was mostly rain early in the day, but in the latter part of the afternoon, the wind started howling.

In Lewiston, fire and Public Works crews went from one fallen tree or tree limb to another. A tree was reported down across College Road at about 5 p.m. and half an hour later, limbs took down wires on both Ryder and Wellman streets.

At 7 p.m., a utility pole toppled into a yard on Biron Avenue in Lewiston, dragging powerlines with it.

An emergency dispatcher announced that she was creating a list of streets that would have to be closed while repairs got underway.

Around the same time, Lewiston police collared a suspect after a foot chase on Ash Street, only to see a confiscated bag of potential evidence blow off the roof of a cruiser. Officers chased that down, too.

At Hannaford in Lewiston, a store employee broke her shoe while chasing a shopping cart that was blowing across the parking lot.

Auburn was contending with similar issues with the relentless winds. Just before 6 p.m., trees were reported down on Goff Hill, Hotel Road and various other spots across the city.

Shortly before 7 p.m., a tree was down across Death Valley Road and power was out along nearby Brighton Hill Road.

Trees were reported down in several areas across Leeds, leaving power out after nightfall.

Half of a fence blew over at a Valley Street home in Auburn. A stop sign blew off its post on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, and random debris seemed to be flying everywhere.

Androscoggin County seemed particularly hard-hit. By 6 p.m., nearly 5,000 Central Maine Power customers had lost power, while only a handful of outages were reported in Franklin and Oxford counties.

Cumberland and Kennebec counties saw a combined 5,000 outages in the same period.

By nightfall, gusts up to 41 mph had been reported in Sabattus, while coastal areas saw stronger winds, with gusts of up to 51 mph.

For Shelley of Auburn, the smashed chair was only the beginning of the tumult. By the time the storm was over, a second chair was blown across her porch and three of her fence posts snapped in the ceaseless wind, finally sending the entire fence tumbling into a neighbor’s yard.

The National Weather Service issued high-wind advisories and flood warnings into Friday morning. Winds were expected to wind down Thursday night while scattered showers were in the forecast for most of the day Friday.


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