July 20, 2013

Somerset County takes brunt of Friday storms; 17,000 lose power

CMP reduces the number, but some still without power Saturday

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Somerset County appeared to take the brunt of the damage done by storms featuring high wind Friday night, and hundreds of people in Madison, Hartland, Cornville and St. Albans remained without electricity late Saturday afternoon.

More severe thunderstorms were predicted, and firefighters in many communities were called out to help clear fallen trees and limbs from roads and power lines.

In Augusta, a small fire that started after a tree came down on a power line forced a Pearl Street couple from their home.

Augusta Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Dunbar said the power feed hit the circuit breaker panel, setting off a small fire in the basement just after 10 p.m.

The Red Cross put the family up at a local motel for the night because the power had to be shut off to the home until repairs could be made, Dunbar sad.

Firefighters also were called to clear South Belfast and Eastern avenues as well as York Street.

The National Weather Service website advises people to move indoors or into a vehicle if thunderstorms approach.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m. Saturday for Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties.

Other thunderstorms were expected to strike earlier in Franklin, Somerset and Kennebec counties.

Central Maine Power Co. spent most of the day restoring power to thousands of its customers in central and western Maine.

John Carroll, spokesman, said that the outages hit a peak of 17,000 but were down to 12,000 by 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

About 4:30 p.m., that number had dropped to 4,356, with three-quarters of those in Somerset County.

“The service areas hit hardest were Skowhegan, Farmington, Fairfield and Dover-Foxcroft,” Carroll said. “It was the western and mountainous areas that got hit so hard.”

Extra work crews and contract crews reported in at 5 a.m. to begin work.

Carroll said about 3,100 outages in Lewiston resulted from a problem with a substation, but that was resolved early Saturday.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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