Monday, June 03, 2013

Severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes terrorize Maine & New Brunswick, Sunday evening June 2nd

National Weather Service working to verify tornado sightings in Maine

Posted June 03, 2013, at 12:25 p.m.

Several people in Maine reported sightings, but the National Weather Service hasn’t yet confirmed any tornado funnels having formed from Sunday’s thunderstorms, officials said Monday.

Warning Coordination Meterologist Noel Runyan was meeting with Aroostook County emergency management officials and touring areas on Monday where funnels had reportedly touched down, said

Joseph Hewitt, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Caribou.

“Most of the damage looks to be [from] straight-line wind,” Hewitt said Monday. “What typically can happen here is you will get a rotation spin out of these storms. They can briefly touch down and go back up. I think Maine’s topography prevents a lot of it.”

The weather service issued tornado warnings on Sunday starting at 3:30 p.m. for southern Somerset County and eastern Franklin County, northern Aroostook County, and northern and central Penobscot County. The warnings lasted about 15 minutes each.

The warning areas included Eagle Lake, Guerette and St. Agatha in Aroostook County; Bingham in Somerset County; Kingfield in Franklin County, and around Baxter State Park in Penobscot County.

Damage occurred in those areas, typically felled trees and downed utility lines, but “we suspect that is straight-line wind damage,” not tornado damage, said John Jensenius, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Gray.

A weather service warning means that a tornado has been spotted or that Doppler radar shows thunderstorm circulation wind patterns that can spawn a tornado.

A woman in Millinocket photographed what appeared to be a funnel cloud forming and almost touching down near the high ground by the Katahdin Avenue paper mill site.

The last tornado confirmed to have touched down in Maine occurred on June 9, 2011. Several trees in Caribou were torn out and a barn was destroyed, Hewitt said.

Most Maine tornadoes are weak, with winds topping out at 75 mph, and typically last several seconds before fading. Meteorologists, including Hewitt, manning radar units saw circular winds but nothing that appeared to touch down, he said.

Thousands of Mainers still without power after Sunday storms

Posted June 03, 2013, at 10:06 a.m.
Last modified June 03, 2013, at 12:16 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Thousands of Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro customers remained in the dark Monday in the aftermath of powerful thunderstorms Sunday, but power was expected to be restored to many communities by Monday night.

According to its website, Central Maine Power had 5,234 customers without electricity as of noon Monday, with the bulk of those (2,119) in Oxford County.

Central Maine Power estimated 31,000 customers lost electricity due to the storms. The company’s Web site indicates 1,179 customers in Somerset County and 725 in Penobscot County remained without power Monday.

Also at noon, 1,506 Bangor Hydro customers remained in the dark, according to that company’s website.

The bulk of Bangor Hydro’s outages are in Piscataquis County, with 202 customers without electricity in Sebec and 701 more without power in Brownville Junction.

Bangor Hydro’s website indicates that power is expected to be restored to the affected areas by Monday evening.

Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon said all of Maine Public Service’s customers have had their electricity restored. Power had been restored since 4 a.m. Monday, she said.

No evidence of tornado touching down, Environment Canada says

Officials investigating after a tornado warning, sighting in N.B.

Posted: Jun 3, 2013 12:33 PM AT

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2013 12:32 PM AT

Environment Canada say there is no evidence of a twister touching down in northeastern New Brunswick on Sunday, despite a dramatic tornado warning having been issued.
Claude Côté, a warning-preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, said "radar signatures" that were extending from Maine into New Brunswick on Sunday prompted the tornado warning in Grand Falls and Victoria County.

"However at this point on Monday morning there's no confirmation, no reports of tornadic activity on the Maine side or on the Canadian side," Côté said.
Environment Canada officials will now go back and review satellite images and radar pictures and gather more information from volunteer weather observers before deciding whether to send an investigator to the area, he said.
"I cannot confirm there was no tornado, but at this time there was no community, or RCMP, or no emergency measures organization that have reported any significant damage that could have been attributed to tornadic activity."

Potential tornado report in south

Côté said Environment Canada is also looking into severe weather that was reported on Saturday afternoon in the Hatfield area, which is north of Hampton.
"Someone called 911 and there was the report of a potential tornado in the Hatfield community and at this point there was some indications of very strong thunderstorms and again, that can produce wind gusts in excess of 80 kilometres per hour, but at this point, no indication of rotation."
Severe thunderstorms were produced by the unstable air over New Brunswick on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Côté said.
Hail was also reported in several communities.
Downdrafts can produce winds as high as 80 kilometres per hour, which is enough to snap or uproot trees, Côté said.

Tornado warnings rare

Tornado watches and warnings aren't issued very often in New Brunswick, according to Côté.

"Last year we issued only for one event and typically in New Brunswick we experience one to three small scale tornados for the summer season, so it's not uncommon, but it's not something we see every day."

The warning issued in Grand Falls and Victoria County on Sunday said meteorologists were tracking a very dangerous thunderstorm that was producing a tornado.

People in the northeastern communities were told to take cover in a sturdy, permanent building or to head underground immediately.

"This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation," the warning stated.

"Vehicles, mobile homes, cottages, boats and any tents or trailers are unsafe. Seek shelter in a location like a bathroom, interior closet, stairwell, basement or the lowest level in the building. Stay away from windows or outside walls, as they offer little protection."

CBC meteorologist Peter Coade said it is important that investigators at Environment Canada determine whether there was a tornado in the province.

"It's very important statistically to know whether we had a tornado because you can get damaging winds from what we call downbursts from just a severe thunderstorm without a tornado," Coade said.

"There is quite a distinction and of course a tornado has a very large fingerprint you might say so it will be easily discerned."

06/2/2013 third heatwave day of the year



Max: 90°F/32.2°C*
Min:  65°F/18.3°C

* A record high for the date.