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November storm triggers outages, fires, knocks out 9-1-1 in parts of Greater Portland

Central Maine Power says crews have restored 100,000 outages Tuesday, and most will be restored by Tuesday night.

MAINE, USA — As Keith Carson clung to the top of Two Lights Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth to bring you the latest on the November storm Monday, tens of thousands of Mainers across the state lost power from high wind gusts. 

Central Maine Power (CMP) outages peaked at about 3 a.m. with 130,000 customers losing power, while Versant Power showed 15,082 active outages at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Some of Versant's hardest-hit areas are in Presque Isle and Mapleton. 

Around 7,000 Versant customers and around 30,000 CMP customers remain in the dark as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

CMP says crews restored power to about 100,000 customers on Tuesday and expects the remaining outages to be restored Tuesday night. 

CMP says because of the extent of system damage, Brunswick, Harpswell, Belgrade, and Litchfield are among the towns that will likely not be completely restored until Wednesday, in addition to some towns in Lincoln and Waldo Counties. CMP also said it's possible that more remote homes and camps could take longer given the priority to focus on the system repairs that restore the most customers at once.

“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,” Kerri Therriault, Director of Electric Operations for CMP, said. “We will shift resources to those areas that need more support as they finish up in other places.”

CMP says its crews and in-state contractors are being assisted by line crews from its sister company in Conn., and from Vt., N.J., and Canada. A total of about 1,260 employees are involved in restoration Tuesday, CMP said in a release. 

Versant customers who are still without power by 10 p.m. Tuesday can expect to be without power overnight, the company said in an update, although they assure customers their crews are working through the night. 

NEWS CENTER Maine Meteorologist Jess Conley said one gust of 53 mph was recorded in Portland just after 7 p.m. Near 10:15 p.m., gusts in Augusta reached 53 mph.

At about 10 p.m., the Portland Regional Communications Center announced that its 9-1-1 service was inoperable, and residents of Portland, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth should instead call (207) 874-8575 in an emergency. The service was restored a few hours later. 

In Portland's West End, a 7,200-volt high tension wire snapped, igniting a nearby building and burning bricks, and even boiling the water used to extinguish the fire.

About a dozen people were evacuated from the Ronald McDonald House and taken to a local hospital, according to Deputy Chief Chad Johnston of the Portland Fire Department.

In Lewiston, a tree struck a house and narrowly missed hitting an infant. The child wasn't hurt but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. 

A flash flood warning was issued just before 9 p.m. for southwestern Oxford County including Fryeburg and Bethel, and all of New Hampshire including Conway, Lincoln, and Tamworth through 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Mid Storm Update

RELATED: Mainers prepare for storm expected to bring heavy rain, high wind and power outages

Jess says gusts up to 63 mph were recorded in coastal Massachusetts, and says Maine can expect wind gusts between 50 and 60 mph late Monday into early Tuesday.

Keith and Jess say Maine has the benefit of no leaves on the trees now, "so we can handle gusts to 50 mph better than we could a month or two ago." Gusts of this level lead to scattered outages, they say. 

"However, if gusts do push up closer to 60 mph, outages would become widespread. So, power outages are expected. It's just a matter of how many."

Power companies say if the storm does cause widespread power outages, crews are ready. 

You can prepare by:

  • Ensuring you have a supply of fresh water.
  • Stocking up on easy-to-make nonperishable food items.
  • Charging your cellphone and other electronic devices.
  • Preparing flashlights and a battery-operated radio in case you must shelter in place until it is safe to travel.
  • If you must travel, be watchful for flooding or pooling of water on roadways, as well as downed trees, branches, or power lines.
  • If you do lose power, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as long as possible to preserve your food.
  • If you have a generator, review the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure you use it safely.

Keep track of CMP outages here.

Keep track of Versant outages here

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And remember, you can share photos and videos of the storm from your community by using the Near ME tool of our mobile app. Just remember to be safe while doing so.