Eddie Hamilton, in the bucket, and Justin Cogswell of Lucas Tree Experts work at removing a tree from wires on Route 22 in Buxton on Sunday. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The powerful winter storm that slammed Maine packing near-record winds and heavy rain Friday destroyed a section of a historic fort in South Portland, damaged an iconic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, forced first responders in Wells to rescue a motorist stranded by rising waters, and left thousands of Mainers without electricity for several days while temperatures plunged into the teens.

By Tuesday morning, CMP’s outages dropped to 1,222. Versant, which serves northern and Downeast Maine, was reporting 4,800 were still without power at 7:20 a.m.

“Our team has now restored power to more than 98% of the 300,000 customers who lost power over the weekend in the wild wind and rain storm,” CMP President and CEO Joe Purington said in a message Monday on the company’s website. “We did this with support from crews from far away – who have shared their delight in meeting local folks – and some of whom had never seen snow before they got here.”

“We are particularly mindful of our approximately 4,000 customers who are still waiting for their power to be restored. … We expect all customers to be restored by the end of the day (Tuesday),” Purington said.

CMP posted a message Monday morning asking for patience as hundreds of field workers and support staff worked to restore power from Friday’s “wicked wind storm.” The company said most customers in the Augusta, Dover, Farmington, Lewiston, Rockland, and Skowhegan service areas were expected to have power restored by Monday night.

But the hardest hit service areas around Brunswick, Bridgton, and Alfred may not have power restored until the end of Tuesday, CMP said. Some of the towns hit hardest were Brunswick, Harpswell, Freeport, Naples, Raymond, Sebago, Lebanon, and York, according to CMP’s outage website.


“Versant Power estimates nearly all customers to be restored by the end of the day Wednesday, with remaining customers being restored on Thursday,” Versant said in a release Monday night.

The National Weather Service in Gray described Friday’s storm as historic, producing damaging winds, severe coastal and inland flooding, and heavy rain. Rainfall amounts varied from 2 to 4 inches statewide.

Nikki Becker, a weather service meteorologist, said the wind gusts set this storm apart. The gusts started Friday morning and persisted into late evening, knocking trees and branches onto power lines and roads.

Outages topped out at around 300,000 customers, according to CMP. York and Cumberland counties were hardest hit.

Becker said a wind gust of 64 mph recorded Friday was the Portland International Jetport’s 9th highest on record. The highest wind gust at the jetport was 78 mph set on Feb. 25, 2010.

Wind speeds of 60 mph were reported on the rooftop of Maine Medical Center in Portland. Camden reported gusts of 66 mph, Belfast at 66 mph, New Harbor in Lincoln County at 67 mph, Pine Point in Scarborough at 58 mph, Shapleigh in York County at 66 mph, Norway at 54 mph, and Popham Beach in Phippsburg at 52 mph. Mount Washington in New Hampshire reported a wind speed of 151 mph.


The weather service said a wind speed of 70 to 80 mph was recorded on an island weather station near Rockland.

The high winds and heavy rains combined with an astronomical high tide Friday to produce stormy seas, which battered the coast and caused flooding and damage in coastal communities. The high tide Friday measured 13.7 feet in Portland and South Portland, the fourth-highest on record. 

WGME-TV reported that a section of stone wall containing old gun batteries at historic Fort Preble in South Portland collapsed after being hammered by waves. Fort Preble is located at the end of the Spring Point Ledge Light Station on the campus of the Southern Maine Community College.

Fort Preble is a military fort built in 1808. It was active from the War of 1812 through World War II before being deactivated in 1950. It overlooks Willard Beach and the islands of Casco Bay.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth was also damaged by the storm. Photographs posted on social media show monstrous waves crashing over rock ledges onto the lighthouse Friday morning.

A video posted on the Cape Elizabeth Police Department’s Facebook page shows siding ripped from the keepers’ quarters and museum, broken windows, large slabs of sidewalk stones uprooted and flung over the lawn, and a door to the museum building missing. A large granite block that supports a 1,200-pound bell tipped over.


Coastal flooding led to a water rescue in Wells on Friday. The Wells Police Department posted a photograph on Facebook of Capt. Kevin Chabot wading through flood waters on Mile Road to rescue a person who became stranded when their car became partially submerged. Chabot can be seen carrying the person in his arms to safety.

Mile Road was closed to traffic for the rest of the day, with Wells police posting a photograph of the road completely underwater.  “There isn’t a Mile Road,” the post said. Mile Road connects Route 1 to Wells Beach.

Old Orchard Beach reported severe flooding downtown Friday morning and Ogunquit reported flooding at Perkins Cove.

There were three house fires reported over the Christmas holiday weekend in Eliot, Westbrook and in Gardiner, but only one appears to have been storm related. The Gardiner Fire Department told News Center Maine that the fire that broke out Christmas Eve morning at 3 Dennis St. was likely caused by a generator.

The National Weather Service in Gray said the upcoming week will be “comparatively quiet,” with temperatures around or just under freezing at the start and steadily increasing throughout the week.

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