ELLSWORTH — The number of power outages in Maine neared half a million Monday afternoon, as the rain and wind storm appeared to lose the worst of its bluster.
Governor Paul LePage declared a state of emergency, citing “heavy rain, high winds and hundreds of thousands of Mainers without power.” The proclamation allows drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to work additional hours.
Full power restoration could take “days,” according to Mike Herrin, chief operating officer of Emera Maine.
“We know we are looking at days,” Herrin said. “Once the second wind peak hits this afternoon, and we are able to fully assess damage, we will better know what we are looking at for a restoration time.”
Emera Maine reported 89,086 outages on its website as of 11:10 a.m. Monday. Central Maine Power reported 391,294 customers were in the dark as of 1:26 p.m.
The National Weather Service had issued a high wind warning for all of northern and eastern Maine, forecasting the strongest winds across the higher terrain and outer islands of the Downeast coast. The warning remains in effect until 10 p.m.
Hancock County dispatchers and other first responders had their hands full Monday as reports of downed trees and power lines flooded in.
Authorities reminded the public never to touch or drive over a downed power line.
The storm prompted numerous closures, including many roads.
State offices closed at 3 p.m. Monday.
A winter athletics informational meeting scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Monday at MDI High School has been postponed.