A man has his umbrella turned inside out by a gust of wind Wednesday as he battles a driving rain while walking down Pine Street in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Thunderstorms rumbled through Maine on Wednesday evening, knocking out power to thousands of Central Maine Power customers and causing a lightning strike to at least one building.

CMP reported at 8 p.m. that 9,700 customers were without power, with most of the outages concentrated in Cumberland, Franklin, Oxford, Knox and Lincoln counties. Freeport, Pownal and North Yarmouth were the hardest-hit communities in Cumberland County.

By 12:35 a.m. Thursday, the total was down to 4,921 outages, with 2,722 of them in Franklin County and just 242 in Cumberland County.

The Harrison Fire Department reported that lightning struck a garage in the town Wednesday afternoon. Structure fires broke out across the region Wednesday evening during the peak of the thunderstorms, including in Buxton, Bridgton and Buckfield, but it could not be determined if lightning was the cause.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for eight counties in southern, coastal and western Maine. The watch was to remain in effect through at least 10 p.m. Wednesday. Some of the storms could be severe, producing hail, strong winds and heavy rain, according to the NWS.

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