Belgrade

‘Felt Like a Big Explosion': Residents Describe Damaging Microburst in Maine Town

Fourth of July celebrations in Belgrade were expected to go ahead as planned despite the damage including a fireworks display

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Lingering storm damage is causing minor holiday hiccups in one Maine town.

On Wednesday evening, people in Belgrade, a town just north of Augusta and southwest of Waterville, found themselves in the middle of a microburst.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm had winds that reached 90 miles per hour and downed roughly 300 trees.

One tree fell on a car while a woman was inside it and she was seriously injured, the Portland Press Herald reported.

There were still people in the town without internet service Friday afternoon, and dozens of utility and tree crews were working to clean up debris and restore service.

“For four intense minutes, it was just incredibly windy,” said Trisha Cheney, who works at Lakepoint Real Estate, which has an office in downtown Belgrade that had a tree land on it.

“The entire building shook,” she recalled, adding that she was lucky an office administrator had pulled staff into the center of the building for safety just before the tree hit.

Outside, Katrina Sibley and Jason Harrington did their best to shelter in the open, after getting caught in the storm with their dog while trying to launch their kayaks.

“I was going, ‘we’re going to get hurt, something’s going to hit us,’” said Harrington as he explained what he was thinking as he and Sibley attempted to take cover behind a row of cars near a stream bank.

Fortunately, Harrington and Sibley were not hurt by the same tree that hit the real estate office, since it also destroyed much of Harrington’s truck, which they had considered using for shelter.

On Friday, the couple was removing items from it so it could be moved and assessed by his insurance company.

According to Cheney, July Fourth celebrations in Belgrade were expected to go ahead as planned despite the damage including a fireworks display.

Cheney said that she and other people in the town’s business community had already put up new American flags after the storm tore many of them down and that she was grateful for the work of tree crews and first responders in getting the town ready for festivities.

“Things might be a little different," she said, "but we’re going to try to move forward with our events."

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