Friday, 10 August 2018 17:10

Microburst blamed for downed utility lines in Kenduskeag Featured

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KENDUSKEAG - A microburst -- a weather phenomenon where destructive winds quickly drop out of the sky -- hit the Kenduskeag area on Thursday breaking utility poles in half and knocking down trees, the National Weather Service is saying.

During Thursday's quick moving thunder and lightening storm in the Bangor area, a violent downdraft of wind -- called a microburst -- landed near the Davis Dairy Farm on Route 15.

Caroline Davis was inside her family's farmhouse with her dad when all of a sudden the power went out and they heard a big boom.

"There was thunder and lightening everywhere and then all the poles just started to come down and he was like, 'Oh crap that's not good,'" Davis said, standing in her driveway on Friday. "The wires landed on the tractors over there and sparks go flying."

The high winds also ripped off portions of the roofs of three barns on the dairy farm's property. Davis said that her dad was most upset about a blue spruce that fell near the house that the family decorated each Christmas.

Wind speeds in microbursts can reach up to 100 mph, but Maine meterologists with the National Weather Service in Caribou estimate the winds that hit Kenduskeag only reached around 60 miles per hour.

"That sudden force of wind is going to cause a lot of trees to snap and branches to break off and such," said Mal Walker, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Caribou.

"It's a downburst and are very strong and a lot of people think a tornado went through but it was very strong straight line winds," he added.

More than 2,000 electric customers lost power during the storm, but everyone - including the Davis Dairy Farm - had power restored by around 8:30 p.m.

"There is dozens of these events every year in Maine," Walker said.

The storm also cause flooding in areas, including downtown Bangor where a couple pieces of construction equipment fell over on State Street when the ground below them washed away. By Friday, the equipment was righted and crews were working on fixing the roadway.