The storm came fast and furious and one area hit particularly hard was also hit hard in the summer when damaging tornados touched down: the lake region from Windham to Bridgton.
Early Monday morning, howling winds had Mainers on edge. Inside their cedar and glass home at their Hoppy Hallow Farm on Kelly Road in Raymond, Paula and Jim Theofilos scrambled to a safe spot in the basement when they heard a loud noise and worried it could be a twister. “It was scary enough that, after we heard that, we sleep upstairs, we came running downstairs because, we weren’t sure if it was a tornado or something, that a tornado was coming through, because of the wind.”
They’ve heard that wind before—in the summer, they watched a line of tornados come very close to their home---and though their Raymond house is solid, they weren’t taking any chances.
“That was a miserable night’s sleep. Why? What was keeping you up? The noise, the wind was just relentless.”
Heavy winds around them ripped tall trees out of the ground. “8, 10, actually look at all those trees just leaning on one another. There may be 30 we lost,” Jim explains, counting lost trees, like war wounded, from the side of his driveway. Out in front of their house, where their driveway meets Kelly Road, several trees brought down lines carrying power to their house. No power for humans, no power for their chickens and goats, either.
“There they are…hi guys!” Paula opens the gate and immediately reaches down to pet the goats: Niko and Pax. “Hope that storm didn’t scare you!”
All seem to have made it through the storm just fine. And the egg-laying hens seem to have taken the storm in stride, too, not allowing the winds to interrupt their egg laying. Inside the hay-lined bins that Paula opens up, there lay 6 fresh brown eggs. “Are you hungry for breakfast?” she asks my videographer and me.
Though they will likely be living without power for the next several days, Paula and Jim take it in stride. Later in the morning, once the power was cut to the downed line, they were off. One to get the generator ready, the other to buy bottled water. “We’ll get through this just fine. As long as I have coffee tomorrow!” Paula laughs.
Just a couple miles down the road, in Casco, another tree hit a power line---setting the tree on fire and damaging a small cottage built in the 1800’s. The owner’s father, who spotted sparks and alerted the fire department, said, “we were very lucky. It could have been much worse!”
It could have been much worse in Naples, too, where a large tree pulled wires down, the entire distance across Lake House Road. The road, shut off in both directions, could make for discomfort until Central Maine Power is able to get the poles and lines back up. It might seem more likely that this kind of damage would be more of a foreshadowing to what winter’s heavy snow may bring, but for many, it’s a throwback to July, when tornados ripped a swath of damage through the region. Jim and Paula Theofilos remember that well.
“They came through here you know because we live right on Sebago, we could see the line of them. And we had some branches down but this is trees down, you can even see the bark off all the trees over there too.”
There is no doubt Central Maine Power will likely have its hands full all week, maybe even into the next two weeks. Local fire departments are urging all of us to help out by clearing leaves from on top of storm drains, raking those into the woods. They say that will help prevent flooding, another headache nobody wants to have filling up their basements and cellars.