CARIBOU, Maine — As of Tuesday afternoon, some Aroostook County residents were still without power from Tropical Storm Arthur’s rainy ravages four days ago.
Using EmeraMaine.com’s live outage and restoration map, Emera Communications Specialist Bob Potts outlined that there were 17 customers out of power in Caribou, four in Limestone, two in Blaine, one in Easton and one in Masardis around 11 a.m. Tuesday afternoon; that number had decreased to 10 by noon.
In total, Potts said that there were 14,000 customers who lost power in Aroostook and 34,983 total outages, just under 22,000 occurring simultaneously on Saturday.
“We serve 154,000 customers throughout our entire service area,” Potts said on Tuesday. “For us to have 22,000 customers lose power is a huge deal.”
In the height of Saturday’s tropical storm, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Caribou Dustin Jordan said that wind gusts in Caribou were recorded as high as 52 miles per hour.
“There were certainly gusty winds across the area that day,” he described.
Bridgewater had a high gust of 46 miles per hour, and Houlton maxed out at 44.
In addition to a massive power outage, Tropical Storm Arthur brought with it a new record rainfall for Caribou. A total of 2.34 inches of rain were recorded on June 5, which Jordan said, “Smashes the record for July 5 of 1.5 inches of rainfall, set back in 2002.”
Between the wind and the rain, Arthur’s assault on the power lines proved to be even more extensive than originally thought; Emera even contracted a helicopter to help assess the damages and expedite repair efforts.
“We have broken poles, we have transformers laying on the ground, broken lines — each of those are big repair jobs on their own,” Potts outlined, adding that crews were additionally hindered by fallen trees and debris that made roads to repair sites temporarily impassable.
To assist in power restoration for northern and central Maine, 60 crews from southern Maine, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island made their way up north — where Potts noted additional difficulty. It’s the height of tourism season and, in places like Washington County, all the hotels were booked.
“Fortunately we were able to reach someone in the student life division at the University of Maine at Machias,” Potts explained. Between the Emera crews and additional consultants numbering nearly 200 working to get power restored, bolstered by the 60 crew members from away, Potts anticipated that the 760 without power in Hancock County would have services restored by Tuesday night, and the 557 in Washington County would have their power restored by Wednesday night.
Tropical Storm Arthur may have started July on a soggy foot, but this July also boasts a place in the warm weather record books.
As reported by Lead Forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Caribou Corey Bogel, July 3 was the sixth day in a row that topped the mercury at 87 degrees or higher in Caribou — which is only the fourth time that’s happened. The all-time record is eight straight days of 87 degrees or higher, which happened back in July of 1970.
Caribou’s temperature did break some records, establishing a new high temperature of 89 degrees on July 1, and 91 degrees on July 2. The previous record temperatures were, respectively, 88 degrees in 1997 and 89 degrees in 2002.