Winter weather spurs accidents, power outages

Posted Nov. 22, 2008, at 2:07 p.m.

Wintry weather made for slippery travel conditions across parts of Maine on Saturday as the first of two snow-laden storms moved through the area.

Saturday’s storm has left a dusting to an inch or more of snow in areas of central, northern and eastern Maine. But even a dusting combined with gusting winds was enough to make roads slick in areas, especially those experiencing their first bout of the white stuff this season.

“It’s the first snowstorm,” Dispatcher Rob King of the Maine State Police said. “It’ll be two or three snowstorms before they get the hang of it.”

King said that the Maine State Police received more than 200 emergency-911 calls about car accidents in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties and assisted with more than 30 cars that slid off the road.

State police reported a dozen minor accidents in Hancock and Washington counties, too, and many more throughout the region, including several cars that slid off of Interstate 95 in the Bangor-Orono area.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the Down East region lost power Saturday morning and afternoon after two weather-related crashes broke two utility poles. The outages affected Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. customers primarily in the Gouldsboro and Steuben areas.

Bangor Hydro crews spent several hours working to replace the poles. Power was restored by about 2 p.m., according to Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon.

In the Midcoast area, Belfast police officers and Waldo County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to a number of minor accidents. Cars skidding off the road and fender-bender accidents occurred in Belfast, Waldo and Winterport, but there were no injuries reported.

State Police also reported minor accidents in the Waldo County area. State and municipal public works crews spread salt and sand because the going was slippery along some county roads most of the morning.

Driving was not as treacherous in Knox County where the communications center reported only a couple of instances of vehicles off the road, though in each case the drivers were able to get back on the road.

Acadia National Park rangers locked the gates to the Park Loop Road because of the snowfall. A dispatcher said that the roads would be cleared and reopened Sunday. They’ll be closed for the season on Dec. 1.

In northern Penobscot County, officials reported that motorists handled the first dusting of snow well.

Lincoln police responded to a handful of accidents due to slick conditions. Vehicles went off Lee Road near Frost Street and River Road near the Interstate 95 ramp in Chester, police said. Only minor injuries were reported.

Mark Bloomer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, said the storm could deposit up to 4 inches in areas along Maine’s border with New Brunswick. Other areas were expected to see an inch to 1.5 inches from the storm.

Parts of New Brunswick were battling blizzard conditions Saturday afternoon, however. Skies had cleared and the snow stopped over much of Maine by Saturday evening.

Bloomer said the next storm is on track to arrive in Maine Monday night or Tuesday morning. At this point, the storm is poised to bring wind and snow with the precipitation changing to rain in many parts of the state on Tuesday.

“It’s a little too early to tell,” Bloomer said. “It’s a pretty complicated storm.”

Reporters Walter Griffin, Abigail Curtis, Nick Sambides Jr. and Kevin Miller contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/11/22/news/bangor/winter-weather-spurs-accidents-power-outages/ printed on August 20, 2014