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Stormy morning results in washouts, fallen trees and outages in The County

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — A brief but blustery hailstorm in northern Aroostook Tuesday morning caused washouts in Fort Kent and power outages in the New Sweden area .

A microburst, or strong downward draft from a thunderstorm, in the area off Rista Road which connects to Route 161 in New Sweden downed utility lines and damaged trees, according to Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director John Gibson.

An area in the 300 block of South Perley Brook Avenue is washed over by rainwater running down an adjacent dirt road on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in Fort Kent. (Jennifer Roy)

“Once the pressure hits the surface of the Earth it has to go somewhere so it spreads outward and that’s where you get the damage from,” Gibson said in explaining the microburst. He said his office had not received reports of any injuries.

Emera Maine reported that the short-lived, but intense thunderstorm had toppled trees and knocked out power to about 1,300 in the New Sweden area in the morning. All were expected to have power restored by early afternoon.

In Fort Kent the Public Works crew mobilized their forces early Tuesday morning to address several washouts on the Perley Brook roads. An area of South Perley Brook Road which connects to a steep dirt road is particularly troublesome during such weather, according to Public Works Director Tony Theriault.

“It’s been a problem area for quite a few years; it doesn’t get better,” Theriault said.

“That dirt road that goes up there gets used quite a bit by four wheelers and farm equipment, so it doesn’t get packed down hard. Whenever it rains hard all of the loose gravel comes down and over time, over years and years and years, you go up that road and it’s just like going in a water channel. All the water comes down from the top about a mile away. It keeps building up and by the time it hits the bottom, she’s got some speed and water.”

Theriault’s crew cleaned up the washout and created a few water bars in the dirt road for public safety.

“We created a couple diversions before somebody gets into an accident,” Theriault said.  He said the soil conservation district is working on a plan to permanently resolve the situation in that area.

Public works crew also cleaned up a minor washout on North Perley Brook Road Tuesday morning.

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