After at least three tornado warnings were issued in Maine over the past several days, scientists with the National Weather Service are trying to figure out if any tornadoes actually touched down.
The NWS' Caribou office has preliminarily determined that a storm that destroyed barns, took down trees and damaged roofs in Limestone and Castle Hill in northern Aroostook County didn't bring tornadoes but microbursts instead, with winds up to 110 miles per hour, the office said Tuesday evening.
No injuries or fatalities were reported with those storms.
However, whether or not other storms produced tornadoes remained an open question Tuesday night. On Monday, tornado warnings were issued in Aroostook County near Ashland and near Jackman into parts of the Moosehead Lake region, while on Saturday potentially tornado-producing storms affected parts of Maine near Camden and into Penobscot Bay.
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For first responders like Jim Leighton, the assistant chief of Limestone’s Fire Department, the strong storms and the damage they brought reemphasize the importance of following the instructions issued when weather alerts arrive.
“When you see something like that, it makes you stop and think that if there would’ve been a house there and people in it and kids, that would’ve been a pretty devastating scene,” said Leighton, who responded to the damaged buildings in Limestone on Monday.
“We always hear these weather alerts come though [and may] take them with a grain of salt at times but you want to pay really close attention to those alerts, they’re really helpful,” he added.