A windy, bitterly cold night has 25,996 Mainers waking up without electricity Tuesday.

As of 5:30 Tuesday morning, Versant was reporting 4,778 customers without power, while Central Maine Power had 21,220 with no electricity. A combination of rain on Monday, followed by a sudden drop in temperatures and high, gusty winds caused the outages. Trees and branches taken down by the winds are pulling lines down with them.

Both companies say their crews are out, and electricity will be restored as quickly as possible. In the meantime, residents without an alternate source of heat may want to seek shelter elsewhere. High temperatures are not expected to get out of the teens today. And with winds gusting 35 to 55 miles per hour, wind chills will make it feel as low as 35 below zero.

If you still have power this morning, it's a good time to prepare for a possible outage during the day. Charge your electronics now and, if you do lose power, be sure to report the outage to your utility company. Don't assume that your neighbors will do it. I have Versant's outage line number programmed into my phone, so I never have to search the house for the latest bill.

Versant's outage line is 973-2000 or 855-363-7211

CMP's outage line is 800-696-1000

These extreme temperatures mean residents should limit their time spent outside as much as they can. When they do have to go out, they should cover as much exposed skin as possible. This is one time when we won't complain about wearing those face masks, and may even keep them on our faces all the way to the car.

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