Snow knocks out power, shuts schools

Posted Feb. 23, 2009, at 10:48 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — More than 140,000 homes and businesses were without power Monday after a winter storm dumped wet, heavy snow on northern New England, canceling classes at hundreds of schools and creating a mess of the morning commute.

In Maine and New Hampshire, the storm arrived late Sunday and dumped heavy wet snow overnight, snapping tree limbs, utility lines and utility poles. The deepest totals were recorded in western Maine, where several towns reported getting 2 feet or more.

Maine utilities said at least 142,200 homes and businesses were without power Monday morning. About 18,500 Public Service Company of New Hampshire customers lost power, but it had been restored to all but about 3,200 homes and businesses by early morning.

The numbers are expected to increase as the storm makes its way across Maine.

“With the winds picking up later today, things could get worse before they get better,” said Central Maine Power spokeswoman Gail Rice.

Heavy snow was still falling across most of Maine on Monday morning, with some places reporting rates of 3 to 4 inches per hour.

The deepest amount, 25 inches, was recorded in Bridgton in western Maine, according to the National Weather Service. Other impressive amounts included 24 inches in South Paris and Fryeburg, 23 inches in Wellington, 22 inches in Jay and 21 inches in Hartford, all in Maine. New Durham, N.H., reported 17 inches of snowfall.

The snow resulted in hundreds of schools canceling classes for the day in Maine, which was supposed to be the first day back after a weeklong winter vacation. In New Hampshire, the storm prompted some school closings, but many already were closed for February vacation.

The National Weather Service says Dighton, Mich., near Cadillac, got 1 foot as of late Sunday. Roads and expressways remain slippery and snow-clogged Sunday in southeastern Michigan, where Armada got 5 inches of snow.

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