Severe storms down lines, cause damage, fires
A fast-moving thunderstorm struck northern Knox County early Wednesday evening.
Appleton, Hope, Camden, and Rockport were most affected by the storm, but nearly all county towns had multiple storm-related emergency responses, according to Emergency Management Agency Director Ray Sisk.
Knox Regional Communications Center handled more than 90 emergency calls keeping area fire, police, EMS and public works crews busy into the early morning hours. Knox Emergency Management opened its emergency operations center and monitored the situation overnight.
Rockport meteorologist Ken McKinley said although he could not confirm, a tornado could have touched down in the county. McKinley owns Locus Weather in Camden.
"It wouldn't surprise me if a small tornado of some sort would have come through,” McKinley said, noting it may have come across Lincolnville and Islesboro.
Knox County Communications received a phone call during the storm from a Union resident that felt a tornado had passed through her area.
Knox County Communications Director Linwood Lothrop said the information will be sent to the National Weather Service to determine if a tornado did strike. It generally takes a day or two to determine, McKinley said.
Several recreational vehicles were reportedly damaged at the Sennebec Campground in Appleton with one RV occupant injured and an island home in Friendship was damaged by fire reportedly caused by lightning. Friendship Fire Department responded by boat to the island fire.
Hope Fire Chief Clarence Keller reported department volunteers responded to four nearly simultaneous calls in different parts of the town including one reported fire. Crews there were able to get a break after 2 a.m.
High winds downed numerous trees and limbs causing widespread power outages. During the early morning hours, more than 6,000 Knox County CMP customers were without power. By 5 a.m., that number had been reduced to 4,600. CMP is bringing in additional line and tree crews to assist local linesmen in power restoration and expects most customers will have power restored within 24 hours, Sisk said. For updated information about power outages by county, click here.
Lothrop said the battery backup on the radio tower on Ragged Mountain ran low at about 4:30 a.m. when a generator failed to start. Technicians were on-site making repairs to the generator and metering the antennas to assure no lightning damage.
Schools in Five Town Community School District and Maine School Administrative District 28 also has been canceled for today due to power outages, with the exception of Lincolnville Central School. Ashwood Waldorf classes also are canceled today.
Emergency crews continue to respond to calls for downed wires and trees this morning. People are urged to use caution and stay away from downed lines, Sisk said.
Have photos or video from of the storms moving through? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.