AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As reports of destruction caused by a major wind storm added up across Maine, Gov. Paul LePage declared a state of emergency.

Over the course of a few hours on Monday morning, high winds blew trees onto roads, homes and power lines. More than 400,000 customers of Maine's biggest power companies were left without electricity.

The declaration grants utility companies flexibility to exceed federal limits on the hours that line crews are allowed to operate in cases of extreme public need.

Reliable information is essential to Gov. Paul LePage as he forms a plan to address the damage a major wind storm unleashed across Maine.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency is tasked with collecting the flood of information, prioritizing the areas of greatest need and directing the response. Gov. LePage huddled with MEMA staff at their headquarters in Augusta to stay updated on the latest developments as the extent of the storm's impact unfolded on Monday.