Thousands of homes and businesses without power as cold weather and ‘significant’ storm damage torment Maine

A car floats in a flooded parking lot at the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville, Maine, after a severe storm flooded rivers.

A car floats in a flooded parking lot at the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville, Maine, after a severe storm flooded rivers.Robert F. Bukaty/APCNN — 

deadly storm that deluged much of the the Northeast has given way to frigid temperatures as tens of thousands of people grapple with no electricity in the cold.

More than 140,000 Maine power customers – such as homes and businesses – had no electricity as of Wednesday night, according to

That’s a big drop from the 400,000 outages in Maine during the peak of the storm. But it’s a small consolation for residents with no heat as nighttime temperatures across much of the state will plunge into the teens by the end of the week.

While the brunt of the storm has passed, travel remains treacherous in some areas due to damaged roads and widespread flooding.

“Right now, there are 68 state road closures – down from nearly 100 yesterday – as a result of downed trees and power lines and significant infrastructure damage,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday.

Photos of damaged roads in Eustis, Maine.

Roads in Maine and elsewhere were damaged due to the storm.Eustis Fire Department

The western Maine town of Eustis turned into an “island” due to damaged roads, its fire department posted Tuesday on Facebook.

By Wednesday, Eustis was also suffering from major communication outages.

“For everyone in the Eustis area TDS internet and phone services currently not working. Town office and fire station without services,” the fire department posted. “Major outages from Kingfield to Carrabasset Valley to Eustis and beyond.”

Restoring electricity in some of Maine’s hardest-hit areas could take several days, warned Central Maine Power, which serves more than 600,000 customers. The utility says Monday’s windstorm was the strongest it’s ever seen.

6 people are dead and 2 remain missing

The vicious storm system barreled up the East Coast over the weekend and into Tuesday, unleashing torrential rain and leaving at least six storm-related deaths.

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Three of those killed were people in their 70s who died after their vehicles were submerged in water, officials said. Those deaths were in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York.

Heavy rain and ferocious winds in Massachusetts caused a tree to fall on a small travel trailer in Plymouth County, fatally injuring an 89-year-old man inside, the local district attorney said.

And on Wednesday, Maine’s governor confimed two deaths in her state, “with two people still missing.”

In the Maine town of Mexico, two people vanished after their vehicle was swept into rising floodwater, local police said Tuesday. A search was ongoing.

The storm also caused widespread travel nightmares. A cruise ship that was supposed to go to The Bahamas this week had to be diverted to Canada and New England “due to unseasonable and rapidly worsening weather,” MSC Cruises USA said.

River flooding is still a major concern

River flood warnings remained in effect Wednesday across the Northeast, from Pennsylvania and New Jersey up to New England.

“I can’t stress this enough: If you live in any area that is at risk of flooding – or has been hard-hit from the storm – please stay off the roads as much as possible,” Mills implored.

“A road that you may be very familiar with that is now under water may have a lot deeper water than you anicipate.”

Heavy rain flooded the roadways in Wayne, New Jersey, stranding cars as rivers and streams overflowed.

Heavy rain flooded the roadways in Wayne, New Jersey, stranding cars as rivers and streams overflowed.Kyle Mazza/Anadolu/Getty Images

In Little Falls, New Jersey, residents were urged to evacuate ahead of major flooding. On Tuesday night, 11 people needed to be rescued, Mayor James Belford Damiano posted on Facebook. The city was using multiple water pumps to remove up to 80,000 gallons per minute from the area to help reduce the flooding, he said.

But while several rivers remain at major flood stage in the Northeast, it appears they have crested and will slowly fall as dry weather is forecast over the next five days.

CNN meteorologists Rob Shackelford and Taylor Ward and CNN’s Michelle Watson, Danny Freeman, Jamiel Lynch, Caroll Alvarado, Jennifer Henderson, Sarah Engel, Maria Sole Campinoti, Zoe Sottile and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.

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