Halloween storm could hit Maine with gusts up to 60 mph

It will be a dark and stormy night Thursday when a storm buffets Maine with gusts up to 60 mph as trick-or-treaters hit the streets.

A hazardous weather outlook is in effect for Down East Maine, the Penobscot Valley, eastern Maine, the central highlands and Aroostook County, according to the National Weather Service. A gale watch is in effect for coastal waters.

The weather service forecasts that the storm will move into Maine Thursday and linger until midday Friday. Rainfall could be heavy at times, with up to 2 inches possible in some places, and winds could gust up to 60 mph, according to a weather service advisory.

Coastal Hancock and Washington counties will likely be hardest hit. Up to an inch of rain is forecast for Bar Harbor, where wind speeds are expected to average 26 to 34 mph, according to the weather service.

Over Greater Bangor, up to an inch or more of rain is forecast, along with wind speeds averaging 17 to 24 mph, the weather service reports.

The storm will lessen in impact as it moves further inland, where Millinocket is forecast to receive up to an inch of rain and see winds blow 10 to 17 mph. Up in Aroostook County, the Caribou area is forecast to see less than an inch of rain and winds peaking around 11 mph, according to the weather service.

Elsewhere, a little over an inch to an inch and a half of rain is forecast along the coast from Portland to Belfast, according to the weather service’s Gray office. Rainfall will be heavier inland, with about 1.5 inches forecast in Lewiston and nearly 2 inches near Rangeley.

In preparation, Emera Maine said Wednesday that it will deploy crews across eastern Maine to respond more quickly to outages.

“We’re taking the forecast very seriously, with our storm team meeting regularly to ensure all personnel are prepared and have what they need to take care of our customers,” said Dave Norman, Emera Maine’s storm manager. “We’re also ensuring we have contractors available to assist our team with restoration efforts.”

Thursday’s storm comes two weeks after a nor’easter lashed the state with heavy rain and winds that gusted as high as 73 mph along the coast. More than 219,000 people were left without power at the storm’s peak on Oct. 17, and outages lingered into the following week.

Despite the heavy outages, the storm was not as severe as the wind storm that hit Maine on Oct. 30, 2017, knocking out power to almost 500,000 customers — even more outages than followed the state’s historic ice storm of 1998.