A series of thunderstorms packing gusts approaching 70 mph have caused extensive damage and left thousands without electricity in Maine.

Central Maine Power reported more than 24,000 homes and businesses were in the dark Thursday afternoon as storms moved across the state.

The National Weather Service said wind gusts hit 65 mph in Bristol, and 69 mph at the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, also in Bristol. Strong gusts toppled trees and snapped tree limbs, bringing down power lines and damaging homes and parked cars.

Meteorologist James Brown encouraged Mainers to keep an "eye on the sky" until the storms come to an end Thursday night.

The storms will usher in cooler, drier weather on Friday. This weekend, the temperature will top out in the 70s and 60s in Maine.