Severe Summer Storms

Summer storms consist of different kinds of violent weather that can produce strong winds, heavy rains, lightning, thunder, and hail that can cause injuries, and destruction of property, crops and livestock. Types of summer weather events include:

  • Hurricanes: An intense tropical cyclone formed in the air over warm ocean areas. Wind speeds reach 74 mph or more, blowing in a large spiral around a calm center (the “eye”).

  • Lightning: Electrical discharge resulting from the buildup of positive and negative charges within a thunderstorm. When this buildup is strong enough, lightning appears as a “bolt” within clouds or between clouds and the ground, reaching approximately 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Thunderstorms: Forms from a combination of moisture and rapidly rising warm air. All thunderstorms have lightning and can occur singly, in clusters or in lines.

  • Tornadoes:Violently rotating column of air extending downward from a thunderstorm to the ground. This funnel shaped cloud contains wind speeds of up to 300 mph at the core and destroys everything along its narrow ground path. Maine averages 2 tornadoes per year.

During the summer, southerly winds are common across the Mid-Coast and Down East areas of Maine because of the frequent sea breezes. These high winds can cause trees and branches to fall onto power lines, causing power and communication outages. Lightning storms can potentially start fires at any point. Flash flooding or erosion can also occur because of heavy rains that typically come with thunderstorms, most common summer storms. Flooding them becomes the biggest concern. The most severe of the summer storm events are hurricanes.

The entire state is vulnerable to severe summer storms every year. Fortunately, their effects are usually more common in the less populated areas of the state towards the western mountainous regions.


Weather forecasting and severe weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service usually provide residents and visitors adequate time to prepare; problems arise when warnings are ignored. The Department of Transportation is responsible for repairs and maintenance of primary roads and bridges damaged in storms.