Waldo County works to repair damage left by intense storm

Boats battered, trees down, nearly 20k residents remain without power
Tue, 10/31/2017 - 7:15pm

WALDO COUNTY — A powerful storm in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, has left widespread damage throughout Waldo County.

The buzz of chainsaws could be heard throughout the day Oct. 31, as crews and the public worked to remove uprooted trees, and countless tree limbs still blocking roadways.

The closest shelter available to Waldo County residents is the Red Cross Shelter in Orono, and anyone in need of transportation can call 207-930-7300.

The transportation will only be available once, and those interested are encouraged to call as soon as possible.

One Waldo County casualty of the storm was Unity’s Halloween Trail of Terror, a haunted walk which was canceled after sustaining severe damage during the storm.

Waldo County schools remained closed Oct. 31, due to a lack of power.

There were also a number of boats damaged in Belfast Harbor during the storm, including one that ended up in pieces near the downtown boat landing Oct. 30. The vessel had been photographed earlier the same morning as it was battered by large waves.

Other boats ended up stranded on shore, while another was seen capsized in the shallow waters near the Belfast Boat House.

A retaining wall bordering the boat house was also heavily damaged, with large swells washing away the rocks used in its construction.  

The day after the storm cleanup continued, with workers and residents struggling to clear the many blocked roads. 

Ed Hall, a Belfast resident seen chopping up a large tree on the side of Kaler Road in Belfast Oct. 31, said he was doing the work on behalf of a friend.   

The tree in question fell directly across the road, blocking traffic until it was pushed out of the way by a Highway Department bucket loader, Hall said.

Though not a tree cutter by trade, Hall said that when he received the call for help he was happy to oblige. 

Working with a chainsaw, he said expected it to take at least several hours to completely dismantle the tree. 

One woman who slowed her vehicle to talk to Hall said that she had heard that the power in Waldo County may be down for days to come.

“When you call CMP to ask [about when power might return], they say they have no idea,” she said.

“They told me the same thing,” Hall said nodding in agreement. “The [CMP] lady said she’d love to tell me, but there’s no way of knowing because there is so much damage,” he added.  

As of Tuesday evening, 19,672 Waldo County customers remain without power, according to Central Maine Power.

For many the storm has brought back memories of the infamous January ice storm of 1998, where many residents of Waldo County were without power for weeks.

“This is just as bad as the ice storm, just a different time of year,” Hall said.

With so many trees down, travel around many areas has become slow and deliberate, with motorists wary of coming upon an unexpectedly blocked road.

Though Waldo County received substantial damage in the storm, the hardy workers and residents are dedicated to its repair.

Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com