A group of onlookers watches waves crash into the rocks outside the Driftwood Inn in Harpswell on Saturday. The town was spared any major damage from the former Hurricane Lee, which has been recategorized as a post-tropical cyclone. (Daniel Hoebeke photo)

Harpswell avoided any major damage Saturday from the former Hurricane Lee, which has been recategorized as a post-tropical cyclone.

As of mid-afternoon Saturday, the town’s three fire districts had responded to five incidents, with four involving downed power lines, said Mike Drake, Harpswell’s fire administrator and emergency management director.

Cundy’s Harbor EMS also was in the process of handling a medical call on Holbrook Street, he said.

“Fortunately, Harpswell was spared from any major damage,” Drake said around 2:30 p.m. “Our emergency operations center will be closing in 15 minutes, and emergency services will continue normal operations.”

Power outages in Harpswell topped out at around 600 and had decreased to 536 outages as of 3:30 p.m., according to Central Maine Power’s online outage list. Damages were still being assessed, and there was no estimated repair time available.

Statewide, about 89,000 CMP and Versant Power customers were without power as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Lee was forecast to bring wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour and swells as high as 18 feet at high tide in Harpswell, according to a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Gray.

The Weather Service had issued a tropical storm warning (downgraded from a hurricane watch), high surf advisory and coastal flooding advisory for the area through Saturday, with weather impacts expected to wind down Saturday night. In all, the storm was expected to last 12 to 18 hours.

While the major weather event was only forecast to deliver 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rainfall in Harpswell, sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph and the area’s already rain-saturated ground caused downed trees and power outages.

The hurricane’s biggest anticipated impact was along the coast, with swells peaking at 12 to 18 feet at high tide Saturday, around 1 p.m. The swells were expected to cause coastal flooding, beach erosion and hazardous boating conditions.

Drake has said all three Harpswell fire stations were staffed with extra volunteers and off-duty personnel to respond to any emergency incidents such as downed power lines and trees. In addition, a command center was set up at the Town Office, on Mountain Road.

Drake has advised residents to call 911 if they have an emergency such as a downed power line or tree falling on their home, and to call the nearest fire station if their home is flooding.  

He said residents who spot any boats on the water that have broken loose should report them to the town harbormaster’s office at 833-5771, Ext. 106. Drake asked that they first try to ascertain whether the boat is occupied and to get the registration number if possible.

Saturday’s high temperature in Harpswell was 69 degrees, with the overnight low expected to be 56 degrees. The weather was expected to remain cloudy during the early evening followed by gradual clearing.

On Sunday, winds are expected to slow to five to 10 mph, with a high temperature of 72.

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