16:38 PM

Maine Wing Making Damage Assessment Photo Flights After Major Windstorm

Maj. Mark Hyland
Public Affairs Officer
Maine Wing

Maine Wing members are assessing railway and roadway damage caused by a large coastal wind- and rainstorm -- called a "bomb cylcone" by meteorologists -- Monday morning that left nearly 550,000 homes and businesses without power in the state’s southern and central regions.

The state’s Emergency Management Agency and Department of Transportation asked the wing to fly over affected areas to pinpoint downed trees, flooded structures and barriers to transportation.

Rail lines from Auburn to Portland and Westbrook to Fryeburg were inspected and photographed Wednesday, with additional flights planned for today and Saturday, weather permitting.

Col. James Jordan, Maine Wing commander, was one of the first pilots in the air to record the damage along rail lines.

“I was surprised by how widespread the fallen trees and powerlines were, from the coast to far inland,” Jordan said.

Maine Wing aerial photographers’ digital images will be downloaded and provided to the Department of Transportation for damage assessment and estimates. The assessments allow the department to receive funding for repairs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Four days after the storm swept through the state with winds exceeding 90 mph along the coast and 60 mph inland, nearly 70,000 homes still lack power. Downed trees have demolished the Maine electric grid, and even with help from outside contractors repairs have been slow.

In addition, numerous roads are closed because of fallen trees, washed-out bridges and hanging powerlines. Amtrak is only partly operational because of lack of power at road crossings along the rail line north of Portland. On the coast, a number of boats at anchor were smashed, sunk or thrown up on shore in the Belfast area.