Big storm dumps more than a foot of snow

Posted Jan. 19, 2009, at 9:26 p.m.

For now, it is back to typical winter weather.

A spell of numbing cold and a winter storm that dumped more than a foot and a half of snow in some areas of the state have moved out of Maine, and forecasters with the National Weather Service office in Caribou said Monday that the next few days should be quiet, typical winter days.

Preliminary National Weather Service figures indicated Robbinston in Washington County got the most snow in Sunday’s storm, with 20.3 inches.

Portland got 13.1 inches, and set a record for snowfall on Jan. 18 with 11.5 inches for the date, breaking the previous mark of 11.2 inches set in 1979.

In Penobscot County, Orono received 19.8 inches, and Bangor received 11.2 inches.

The Knox County town of Hope received 14 inches of snow.

Law enforcement officers and tow truck drivers in Knox and Waldo counties were kept busy Monday morning as drivers unable to handle slick road conditions were involved in a number of minor accidents. Although no serious injuries were reported, the morning rush hour proved hectic.

“Lots of cars off the roads and calls for wreckers, but nobody really injured,” a Knox County Communications Center dispatcher said Monday.

In Belfast, a fender-bender between a plow truck and a sport utility vehicle on Route 1 near Central Maine Power Co. resulted in a chain of accidents as drivers attempted to avoid the gridlock caused by the wreck. When a tractor-trailer was unable to climb a slippery hill on the highway, some drivers who attempted to go around it ended up off the road and in the ditch.

“I was not Officer Friendly this morning,” Belfast police Officer Eric Kelly said later. “People got impatient and tried to go around everyone else and ended up sliding off the road. I got a little impatient with them myself. It was a bloody bottleneck out there for a while, really, really slippery.”

Travel returned to normal once highway crews spread sand and salt on the slick roadway from Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Searsport line. While Kelly was dealing with problems on that section of Route 1, Officer Bryan Cunningham was faced with some of the same a few miles south. Cunningham said road crews managed to sand that section of highway as soon as he called for their assistance.

In Medway in northern Penobscot County, firefighters said they found it almost miraculous that a six-vehicle pileup early Monday involving three 18-wheel tractor-trailers, a pickup truck, an SUV and a Maine Department of Transportation plow truck on I-95 did not result in any injuries.

Coming in whiteout conditions at about 7:45 a.m., the accident occurred in the northbound lane just north of the Medway exit, No. 244, when a tractor-trailer was rear-ended by the pickup, Medway firefighters said. The other collisions followed.

One northbound lane was closed for about an hour as a result of the accident.

In Lincoln and areas farther south, minor accidents were reported, dispatchers said.

Snow totals varied substantially around northern Penobscot County. Millinocket received 7 inches; Medway, 10.5; Howland, 12; Topsfield, 10.5; Lakeville, 12 inches; and farther north Patten received 5.7 inches.

Snowfall amounts in Hancock County included 18 inches in Ellsworth, 12 inches in Blue Hill and 12.2 inches in Southwest Harbor.

The Washington County town of Columbia got 19 inches, and Calais received 18 inches. In Piscataquis County, 10 inches of snow fell in Milo while Kokadjo received 6 inches.

In southern Maine, Gorham had 18 inches, South Windham reported 16.5 inches, and Richmond had 16 inches.

Lesser amounts of snow fell in Aroostook County.

Island Falls received the most snow in that region, picking up 9.3 inches. Houlton received 8 inches, Madawaska received 6.2 inches and Clayton Lake received 2 inches.

Mark Turner, a hydrologist with the NWS in Caribou, said Monday that temperatures in Aroostook County would remain in the midteens and 20s until at least Thursday. Low temperatures will be in the single digits to slightly below zero.

In Bangor, temperatures are expected to remain in the low to mid-20s and warm up into the 30s on Thursday, according to Turner.

While the bitterly cold weather will stay away, so will the snow, he said.

“There is a sign of approaching snow on Saturday, but it is still too early to tell what will become of it yet,” said Turner.

BDN writers Jen Lynds in Houlton, Walter Griffin in Belfast and Nick Sambides in Lincoln and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in State