PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A powerful storm with gusts topping 60 mph (96 kph) swept across coastal New England, knocking out electricity for more than 100,000 homes and businesses at the storm’s peak in Maine, officials said Tuesday.
Hundreds of utility crews from as far away as New Jersey and New Brunswick, Canada, joined in the effort to restore power across the state. By nightfall, power had been restored to all but about 30,000 customers, officials said.
“We understand that customers need power to work and attend classes from their homes and we will continue to work around the clock to restore power as quickly as we can,” said Kerri Therriault, director of electric operations for Central Maine Power, the state’s largest utility.
Winds gusted to 50 mph (80 kph) or higher across coastal New England, but the bulk of the storm damage was in Maine. During the storm, Maine recorded gusts of 63 mph (101 kph) in Cape Elizabeth, 61 mph (98 kph) in Eastport and 58 mph (93 kph) in Bangor, the National Weather Service said.
In Portland, the storm produced a light show for the city when a 7,200-volt power line came down on the city’s West End, with the live wire and ensuing fire causing a handful of evacuations, officials said. The storm also knocked out the 911 emergency communication system for a time.
Utility workers toiled away in relatively balmy temperatures Tuesday in New England. Records were set in Burlington, Vermont, with a reading of 66 degrees, and in Caribou, Maine, where the temperature climbed to 60 degrees. But cooler weather was on tap for the rest of the week.
The storm was caused by a low pressure system to the west, and rain fell steadily on Monday with winds building in the evening.
More than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain fell in some locations, meteorologist Mike Cempa said. A daily record for rainfall was set in Concord, New Hampshire, with nearly 1.5 inches (4 centimeters).
There was enough rain that flood watches were posted for rivers and streams in parts of the state.