Patriots Day Storm

“No line is safe to touch, EVAH!” That is a line us “Mainahs” hear frequently in TV commercials from our electric power company, Central Maine Power, during the local evening news. A line worker in his reflective orange vest delivers the message quite effectively. By the way, us Mainahs do not pronounce most “Rs” especially when they are at the end of a word.

On April 17th of this year (two weeks after the snow storm pictured in my last newsletter), Maine experienced a “Naweastah” – a storm that intensifies over the Atlantic creating winds from the northeast. All day long 6 inches of horizontal rain softened the ground, and sustained winds of 65 – 70 miles per hour toppled 40 foot pine trees. In the midst of it, cutting crews cleared debris, and the CMP line workers reconnected wires. Can you imagine having to go up 15 or more feet in a bucket on a truck lift to reconnect high voltage wires on a utility pole even in the nicest weather?

I have often wondered if power companies in other parts of our country teach their customers not to touch any downed power lines as well as CMP does.

During an ice storm in January of 1998, freezing rain built an inch of ice on trees, wires, roads, houses, etc. over a period of two days. The tremendous weight of the ice broke huge metal utility towers. As the ice began to melt we listened to the constant snapping of ice-laden tree limbs and then the shattering crash as they hit the ground. We lost power for six days – some folks lost it for three weeks!

I recall a heavy limb resting on the electrical wire running to our house threatening to delay the connection of power even longah. It was tempting to remove the limb – but for the message – “No line is safe to touch, EVAH!”

It was overwhelming for CMP, and outside line workers were brought in from states as far away as North Carolina. The governor pronounced a state of emergency.

The Vice-President came to Maine to view the devastated area. A collective gasp arose the next morning as us Mainahs picked up our newspapahs. Pictured on the front page was Al Gore holding up a downed electrical line!

I knew then that CMP’s message was not one that was broadcast nationally.

Betsy Hanscom designs heating pads in the shape of sheep, moose, bears, among other shapes and sizes that help relieve sore muscles or warm a bed. All of her designs may be frozen and used to reduce swelling and ease pain. Her products are sold in stores across the US and on the Maine Warmers Web site.

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