February 21, 2018
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10 inches of snow blankets Maine, just in time for holiday travel

By Ryan McLaughlin and William Davis, BDN Staff

AUBURN, Maine — The state’s second snowstorm of the season made traveling difficult before the Thanksgiving holiday.

More than 10 inches was recorded before noon in Durham, Otisfield, Hope, Bethel and Sebago. Southern coastal areas were getting primarily rain. Portland saw mostly rain overnight and Wednesday morning, but it still was snowing hard inland and a winter storm warning was in effect for much of the state.

Wednesday morning flights from both Bangor International Airport and the Portland Jetport ran on time but flights coming into BIA were experiencing 30- to 60-minute delays, according to airport director Rebecca Hupp.

“We are continuing to operate,” Hupp said. “Today is a pretty busy travel day for the holiday.”

Both Central Maine Power Co. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. reported power outages across the state Wednesday. CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice said fewer than 200 customer accounts were without service at 9 p.m. Wednesday, mostly in Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and Cumberland counties. Outages peaked at nearly 14,200 customer accounts just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and utility officials estimate more than 28,000 customers were without service at some point over the course of the storm.

Shortly after 7 a.m., 1,513 Bangor Hydro customers in the Old Town-Milford area of Penobscot County lost power because of a car-pole accident caused by slippery road conditions. By 11 a.m., electricity had been restored to those homes and businesses, but another 663 in Hancock County were without power.

“These are primarily caused by tree limbs coming down on lines under heavy snow,” Bangor Hydro said in a press release.

As crews resolved some outages, the weather continued to cause problems with the number of affected customers growing by 4 p.m. to 1,822. At that point, there were 1,553 customers without power in Hancock County, with the communities of Deer Isle, Stonington, Blue Hill and Jonesboro the most significantly affected. Another 269 customers in Washington County were in the dark.

By 9 p.m. the number of Bangor Hydro customers without power was down to 250 with 173 of the outages in Washington County.

The Bangor Hydro release warned that the weather could cause additional outages and delay restoration efforts.

Dispatchers in Hancock and Washington counties reported around noon that they have had several reports of vehicles going off roads but no serious injuries or property damage was reported. In Ellsworth, Route 1 just west of downtown was closed to westbound traffic for more than an hour after a flatbed semi truck got stuck on a hill. A sand truck helped provide traction for the tractor-trailer, enabling it to eventually move along.

Shortly before 11 a.m., the city of Bangor announced that because of extremely slippery road conditions, it was halting the Community Connector bus service. The 11:45 a.m. service from Pickering Square was the final run of the day. Community Connector service will resume Friday as scheduled after the Thanksgiving holiday, the city said in a press release.

On the coast, Machias District Court and Washington County Superior Court, both in Machias, closed at 10 a.m.

Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said that a number of vehicles skidded off highways throughout the state but no serious accidents were reported. The speed limit on the Maine Turnpike was reduced to 45 mph and to 40 mph on I-95 in the Bangor area.

Waterville Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey echoed McCausland’s comments.

“It hasn’t been super out of control,” Rumsey said. “I think we’ve had two accidents since the storm started.”

Rumsey added those accidents weren’t serious and involved cars skidding off the road.

Dexter police received a report of a vehicle rollover at 8:15 Wednesday morning on Railroad Avenue.

Diana Overlock of Corinna was driving around a corner headed southbound when she lost control and rolled over her black 2001 Ford Explorer into a deep embankment, said Cpl. Alan Grinnell.

Overlock did not seek medical treatment but complained of pain, said Grinnell.

“She was shaken up,” said Grinnell, who added Overlock was the only person in the SUV. She was wearing her seat belt, he said.

Grinnell said speed was not a factor but “road conditions were very slippery.”

The city of Bangor is enforcing a parking ban between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday in order to make it easier for city plow crews to clear the streets. Any car left parked on city streets during the time of the ban will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Snowfall was lighter in Aroostook County, while southern Aroostook was under a winter weather advisory and central and northern Aroostook were under a hazardous weather outlook.

Towns in The County were reporting 2 to 3 inches at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said that they had dealt with several accidents because of the snow.

Caribou police Sgt. Paul Vincent said that the seven or eight accidents the department had dealt with Wednesday were typical for the first snowstorm.

None of the accidents were serious, he said.

The Fort Kent Police Department had not dealt with any accidents.

Police in Presque Isle reported “four or five”accidents by 4 p.m. None of those resulted in serious injury.

Police dispatchers in Belfast, which received 10 inches of wet, heavy snow by 5 p.m., said they had been busy all day with reports of minor accidents coming from all over Waldo County. None of the fender-benders and snowbank ditchings led to any serious injuries, officials said.

The Associated Press and BDN reporters Ryan McLaughlin, Bill Trotter, Dawn Gagnon, Andrew Neff, Jen Lynds, Alex Barber and Abigail Curtis contributed to this report.

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