Recovery underway after storm’s slam

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A limb dangling in wires blocks Falmouth Street in Westbrook.

This downed tree takes out utility lines and blocks early morning traffic Monday on Lowell Road, between New Portland and Longfellow roads in Gorham.

Dangling on utility wires, a downed limb Monday reduces commuter traffic to one lane on Ossipee Trail (Route 25) in Gorham.

A scene at Hamlet Coach Park in Westbrook.

 

 

A limb dangling in wires blocks Falmouth Street in Westbrook.

A utility worker from New Brunswick gets a lift at the intersection of Morrill Avenue and Ball Park Road in Gorham.

Emergency workers from New Brunswick help get the lights on in Gorham Village about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

With traffic signals out, Scott Nystrom of Gorham Police Department directs traffic Monday afternoon at the intersection of Main Street and New Portland Road.

WESTBROOK — Power was being restored and commuters were having an easier go of it Wednesday in the aftermath of the storm that hammered the area Sunday and Monday.

High winds felled limbs and toppled trees and electrical wires, blocking roads and leaving multiple thousands in Westbrook, Gorham and Buxton still without electricity by midweek.

The Oct. 30 storm hit from the southeast with wind gusts of 69 mph recorded at the Portland International Jetport, said Tom Hawley at the National Weather Service. Winds 74 mph are considered hurricane force.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, Central Maine Power reported 3,062 Buxton customers without power; Gorham, 2,866; and Westbrook, 439.

Of the 9,504 Central Maine Power customers in Westbrook, an estimated 4,000 customers lost power. According to Westbrook Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte, 1,406 customers were still without power Tuesday morning.

Turcotte said the outages were “pretty significant,” but that the city fared well in terms of safety.

“Fortunately it’s milder weather so we haven’t had anyone call asking for shelter,” he said.

In Buxton, 3,820 customers were without power Tuesday morning and 3,698 in Gorham, down from 5,167 Monday morning.

A few large trees fell down in Westbrook, including one on Webb Street that took down three telephone poles near Avesta Housing. A tree also fell on a home in Hamlet Coach Park on Saco Street.

Power outages affected street lights and transformers in Westbrook, causing many intersections to operate with temporary stop signs. Also, a power outage at the Dana Warp Mill resulted in someone getting stuck in an elevator, Turcotte said.

In Gorham, Public Works Director Bob Burns said Monday the storm left one of the widest spread outages through town that he has seen in 13 years. A Canadian utility crew from New Brunswick assisted Central Maine Power Co. workers in Gorham.

Gorham Deputy Police Chief Christopher Sanborn said trees fell through roofs on a couple houses, but there were no injuries. Sanborn said a few traffic accidents were storm-related but no one wa seriously injured.

With traffic signals out in Gorham Village Monday, police directed early evening commuter traffic. The storm shuttered much of Gorham Village Monday, but power was restored in the village about 5:30 p.m.

Burns said 15 areas in Gorham had partially or totally obstructed roads including Lowell Road where a huge tree flattened wires and landed across both travel lanes. Sanborn said some roads remained closed Tuesday.

Power outages hit schools, closing Gorham and Westbrook schools Monday and all MSAD 6, the Bonny Eagle district, schools and Central Office  closed Tuesday. The SAD-6 Central Office was to open Wednesday.

The metal roof on SAD 6’s George E. Jack Elementary School in Standish sustained significant damage, according to Superintendent Paul Penna. All schools in the district remained closed Wednesday.

When classes resume, George E. Jack students will attend classes at Bonny Eagle Middle School until roof repairs are completed, according to School Board member Nathan Carlow of Buxton.

Gorham Superintendent Heather Perry said there was no property damage in her district “to speak of, just some limbs from trees down that had to be moved, and food that had to be moved to schools with generators.”

Perry said, “We also had to rent a refrigerated truck to house food from Narragansett, Village and Gorham High School, which all do not have generators.”

Gorham Middle School and Great Falls Elementary Schools opened 3:30-10 p.m. Tuesday so families left without power could shower, warm up, plug in and recharge.

Buxton Police Department reported on its Facebook page that residents could recharge electronic devices in town hall and the three Buxton Fire Stations have made water available. “Groveville and Chicopee have outside spigots. Bar Mills Station (across from Town Hall) you will have to ring the doorbell or knock and water is available inside,” the posting said.

Hawley reported that Gorham received 1.33 inches of rain in the storm while he recorded 3.18 inches in Hollis.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.