High winds leave more than 100,000 in the dark across Maine

High winds gusting up to 60 mph lashed Maine overnight into Friday morning, causing widespread outages across the state.

A high wind warning is in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday for much of eastern and Down East Maine, according to the National Weather Service. High winds blowing 25 to 35 mph, with gusts approaching 60 mph, are expected to linger into Friday evening.

In Bangor, wind gusts up to 52 mph have been reported, while in Bar Harbor gusts have reached 58 mph early Friday morning, according to the weather service’s Caribou office.

High winds have brought trees down across the state, creating hazardous traveling conditions.

“We are receiving multiple reports of large trees and power lines across roadways this morning. Driving is not recommended, but if you have to go out be alert for trees in the roads,” the weather service’s Caribou office warned.

As of 6:45 a.m., Emera Maine reported nearly 36,000 people were without power, with the outages clustered in Hancock and Penobscot counties.

Central Maine Power reported just over 69,000 people were without power across its service area, with the highest outages in Cumberland (6,602), Kennebec (10,929), Lincoln (7,681) and Sagadahoc (9,687) counties.

Numerous schools have delayed their start times due to the high winds. Bangor School Superintendent Betsy Webb said in a Friday morning tweet that Bangor schools would be delayed two hours after power outages hit several neighborhoods.

The University of Maine closed Friday morning and canceled classes until 5 p.m. due to road closures and power outages, according to the University of Maine Police Department.

The Halloween 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, that 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.