30 inches of snow could hit northern New England

A birch tree on Patten Drive in Hermon is weighed down by ice on the morning of Monday, March, 7. Ice and rain are part of a major storm hitting the state.
Courtesy Jennifer Gilbert
A birch tree on Patten Drive in Hermon is weighed down by ice on the morning of Monday, March, 7. Ice and rain are part of a major storm hitting the state.
Posted March 07, 2011, at 8:32 a.m.
Last modified March 08, 2011, at 9:57 a.m.
CARIBOU, Maine — A powerful storm is raking parts of northern New England and upstate New York with heavy rain, coating other areas in ice and dumping more than 20 inches of snow on sections of the winter-weary region.

The storm had iced up roads and dumped as much as 14 inches of snow on parts of Aroostook County by 11 a.m. Monday, with additional accumulations expected to continue to make travel conditions treacherous.

According to preliminary statistics from the National Weather Service in Caribou, Fort Kent had already received 14 inches of snow from the storm, which started out as rain on Sunday but turned to snow by mid-afternoon that day.

Presque Isle had 7 inches of snow on the ground by 11 a.m. Monday, while Houlton had 3.5 inches.

In Penobscot County, Patten had 3.5 inches, while 2.5 inches was reported in Guilford in Piscataquis County.

Icing was also expected to be a significant problem Monday. Officials with the NWS reported that the Penobscot County town of Lincoln had picked up a half inch of ice by 11 a.m., with Dover-Foxcroft in Piscataquis County picking up a similar amount.

Freezing rain made roads a mess in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties on Monday, and the rain, combined with heavy snow, created scattered power outages.

Despite the slippery road conditions, police in Piscataquis County and in the Millinocket and Lincoln areas reported no major accidents.

Greenville received 10-12 inches of snow between Sunday and Monday and by late morning the region was receiving freezing rain and the wind was blowing.

Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. and Central Maine Power Co. were out in force Sunday and Monday addressing power outages.

Susan Faloon of Bangor Hydro said Monday that in addition to the wind, rain and ice that fell in the state, some car-utility pole accidents contributed to the power outage totals. As of Monday morning, there were 5,396 customers without power, most of whom live in Penobscot County.

CMP also was plagued with power outages, according to Gail Rice, CMP spokesman. There were about 7,200 customers without power Monday morning. Of those, bout 2,500 were in Kennebec County, 2,154 in Somerset County, 971 in Penobscot County and about 200 in the Dover-Foxcroft area in Piscataquis County, she said.

Rice said much of the problem stems from the ice, which caused some downed lines.

Customers are asked to ensure roads are sanded for safe access, Rice and Faloon said. Those using alternative heating devices or generators should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Both officials said crews would be out in force throughout the day Monday to restore the power.

In Aroostook County, most colleges, businesses and all government facilities were closed Monday.

Officials in northern Vermont on Monday closed a 10-to-12-mile stretch of Interstate 89 that was blanketed in snow. Meteorologist Bruce Taber says 21.4 inches of snow had fallen at Burlington International Airport as of 10 a.m. Monday, and the snow will continue falling through the early afternoon.

Taber says it’s now the fifth-snowiest winter on record in Burlington at 119.5 inches.

Upstate New York was blitzed by more than 2 feet of snow, freezing rain and 30 mph winds.

Southern Maine, meanwhile, saw about 2½ inches of rain, and some inland areas saw freezing rain. In New Hampshire, the problem was ice jams that led to a flood warning on one river.

Scores of schools and state offices were closed throughout the region, and more than 50,000 utility customers lost power.

The Associated Press and writer Jen Lynds of the Bangor Daily News contributed to this report.

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