Storm leaves snow, ice, power outages in its wake

By Diana Bowley and Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted March 08, 2011, at 7:56 p.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — More than 2,000 Mainers were still without power late Tuesday afternoon, a day after a powerful winter storm deluged the state with rain, ice and snow.

Residents in northern Aroostook County and western Maine were digging out from more than 2 feet of snow, while Mainers elsewhere chipped ice off their windshields or dealt with wet basements.

Representatives of both Central Maine Power Co. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. said Tuesday afternoon that they anticipated having power restored to most customers by late evening. But Bangor Hydro spokesperson Susan Faloon also warned that anyone without power by 9 p.m. should expect to be without service overnight and make arrangements. The majority of the customers still without power were in Piscataquis and northern Penobscot counties.

The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department faced a problem Monday afternoon when a downed tree disrupted the communication tower on the North Road in Sebec. While the power was being restored at the tower, a Milo firefighter remained at the Milo Fire Department and a Guilford firefighter remained at the Guilford station to page out firefighters in the event a fire was reported in either area. Transmission from a communications tower on Geoff’s Corner in Dover-Foxcroft also was disrupted by tree limbs early Tuesday, according to Dave Roberts, the department’s communications supervisor. Both towers were back in service by Tuesday afternoon.

About 2,100 CMP customers systemwide were without power at the start of the day Tuesday, according to CMP spokesperson Gail Rice. About 551 of the customers without service were in the Dover-Foxcroft area in Piscataquis County, and 581 were in the Dexter region in Penobscot County. In addition, there were 291 outages in Somerset County, among scattered others in CMP’s coverage area. Power to many of those customers was restored by late Tuesday afternoon.

In Bangor Hydro territory, where more than 5,000 customers were without power at one point on Monday afternoon, nearly 1,967 were still without service at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, mostly in Piscataquis and northern Penobscot counties.

Crews from both companies grappled with extensive damage as ice-covered tree limbs added weight to the ice-coated power lines, causing downed lines.

Faloon said crews from Washington and Hancock counties had been sent to the northern Penobscot County area to assist in those restoration efforts.

She also pointed out that customers in some areas had reportedly been cutting tree limbs near power lines in an attempt to help power crews, actions that she called “extremely dangerous.” She urged customers to call Bangor Hydro rather than attempting to remove tree limbs or move lines themselves.

According to the National Weather Service in Caribou, the most snow fell Monday in Aroostook County, near St. Pamphile, the border crossing between northern Aroostook and Quebec, where weather spotters recorded 27 inches of snow. The County towns of Guerrette, Connor and Portage picked up 19 inches.

Central Aroostook County meanwhile received only about 7 inches of snow and southern County communities saw mostly freezing rain as a result of the storm. One inch of ice accumulated in Houlton, according to the Weather Service, with half an inch of ice measured in Oakfield.

In Penobscot County, Shin Pond recorded 8.8 inches of snow, while Bangor received just 0.3 inches. Millinocket picked up 0.75 inches of ice, while half an inch accumulated in Howland.

Chamberlain Lake in Piscataquis County, saw 16 inches of snow, while Kokadjo received 12 inches. Guilford picked up 2 inches. Icing also was a significant problem in that area, with the Weather Service reporting trees bent over and weighed down by ice in Milo and Sangerville. Both towns saw nearly half an inch of ice.

The primary precipitation along the Maine coast was rain, at times very heavy, with icy conditions reported inland. That kept snow accumulations down. In Washington County, Wesley and Machias picked up 0.1 inches.

In Hancock County, Aurora, Hancock and Surry saw 0.1 inches of snow.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/08/news/state/storm-leaves-snow-ice-power-outages-in-its-wake/ printed on September 16, 2014