By Cyndi Wood and Liz Graves
BAR HARBOR — The number of power outages in Maine neared half a million Monday afternoon as the morning’s rain and wind storm began to calm. The damage was compared to the ice storm in the winter of 1998 that left much of the state in the dark.
By Wednesday morning, an estimated 11,000 Hancock County residents were still without power.
“More than half of the 90,000 customers impacted at the height of the storm have been restored,” Emera Maine spokesman Bob Potts said in an early morning statement. “Both internal crews and external contractors from as far away as Florida are cleaning up downed trees and limbs, downed wires and many broken poles and will continue to do so until all customers are safely restored.”
Hancock County dispatchers and other first responders had their hands full Monday as reports of downed trees and power lines flooded in.
The storm prompted numerous closures, including many roads.
A 32-by-96-foot greenhouse at the Bar Harbor Community Farm on Gilbert Farm Road was lifted into the air by high winds Monday, owners Gary and Glennon Friedmann reported, and dropped back to its base “in a tangled heap.”
The winds there reached 80 mph, Gary Friedmann said. The fall crops in the greenhouse were not lost, due to unseasonably warm weather, but the loss is still a setback. Members of the farm, who buy shares of the harvest, may be able to help with repairs “once we figure out how to pick up the pieces,” he said.
Gov. Paul LePage declared a state of emergency Monday, citing “heavy rain, high winds and hundreds of thousands of Mainers without power.” The proclamation has allowed drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to work additional hours.
A winter athletics informational meeting scheduled for Monday evening at MDI High School was postponed. Schools were closed Tuesday in Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor and Tremont.