CARIBOU, Maine — The first significant snow and wintry mix hit Aroostook County on Monday and Tuesday, dumping four inches of snow in some parts of the region and causing several significant accidents.
Mal Walker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, said early Tuesday evening that the bulk of the snow and freezing drizzle that peppered parts of The County had moved out by late afternoon but that a strong northwest wind would move in early Wednesday.
Snow began falling in the Houlton area just after 11 a.m. Monday. Sleet and freezing rain also fell in some parts of the area, making roads slippery and causing several accidents during the evening commute.
Some areas of The County also saw freezing rain Tuesday, and slush-covered roadways led to a serious accident in Fort Kent.
According to Fort Kent Police Chief Kenneth Michaud, William Desjardins, 34, of St. Agatha was traveling eastbound on Route 161 at about 1 p.m. when his tires got caught in patches of slush. Desjardins tried unsuccessfully to maintain control of his small car but veered out of control and hit a mailbox and then a tree.
Michaud said that members of a Maine State Police dive team and an emergency medical technician from St. Agatha came upon the scene and assisted Desjardins. The Fort Kent Fire Department responded with extrication equipment.
“It took them more than an hour to get him out of the car,” Michaud said Tuesday night. “They had to cut the car up so badly that by the time they were done, I could not tell what model of car it was.”
Michaud said Desjardins was taken by Fort Kent Ambulance to Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent. The chief said that Desjardins is believed to have suffered two broken legs in the crash and was being transferred by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Michaud said he was not sure if the victim had been wearing a seat belt.
Michaud said fog prevented a medical transport helicopter from coming to Fort Kent to take Desjardins to EMMC.
Accidents also took place in Caribou. Sgt. Paul Vincent of the Caribou Police Department said Tuesday that two people were injured during an accident on Fort Road just before 10 p.m. Monday. Vincent said the accident was weather related and that the car skidded off the slippery roadway.
Further information about the accident wasn’t immediately available, and the extent of the victims’ injuries was unknown.
Police also responded to several minor accidents earlier in the day, according to Vincent, and one minor accident was reported Tuesday.
Stockholm got the most snow from Monday’s storm, picking up about 4 inches. Parts of St. John Valley saw between 3 and 3.5 inches.
About an inch of snow fell in Caribou and Presque Isle, and communities in southern Aroostook saw similar amounts. Houlton picked up approximately 1.8 inches. Two inches of snow fell in the Orient area.
Walker said that fog was the most significant weather-related problem in Bangor and most of Down East on Tuesday.
Walker said a cold front would move through the state early Wednesday and usher in strong winds.
“The wind is going to get people’s attention,” he said. “We will see very strong gusts. Some parts of the state will see gusts of between 50 and 55 mph. The strong northwest wind also will lower temperatures substantially.”
Thanksgiving is expected to be a bit windy and cold but clear, Walker said Tuesday evening.