Mainers dig out in wake of major winter storm

Rick Bragg (left) and Jerry Watson clear snow from their mailbox along Union Street in Bangor on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. People across the region were clearing driveways and raking roofs after Thursday's snowstorm dumped 7 inches of snow on the Bangor area according to the National Weather Service. Houlton residents got 16.5 inches of snow according to the National Weather Service.
Rick Bragg (left) and Jerry Watson clear snow from their mailbox along Union Street in Bangor on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. People across the region were clearing driveways and raking roofs after Thursday's snowstorm dumped 7 inches of snow on the Bangor area according to the National Weather Service. Houlton residents got 16.5 inches of snow according to the National Weather Service. Buy Photo
Posted Dec. 28, 2012, at 8:43 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 29, 2012, at 6:20 a.m.

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Mark Perry shovels snow away from the front of his office on Columbia Street Thursday morning in Bangor.
Mark Perry shovels snow away from the front of his office on Columbia Street Thursday morning in Bangor.
A city employee works on plowing the city sidewalks in downtown Bangor on Thursday morning.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
A city employee works on plowing the city sidewalks in downtown Bangor on Thursday morning.
A pedestrian crosses Main Street through the blowing snow in downtown Bangor on Thursday morning.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
A pedestrian crosses Main Street through the blowing snow in downtown Bangor on Thursday morning.

BANGOR, Maine — Mainers dug themselves out from 6 to 17 inches of snow Friday after a storm swept through the state Thursday into Friday, dumping more than a foot of snow in many areas.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm hit Aroostook County hardest, with 17 inches of snow reported on the ground in Island Falls as of 8 a.m. Friday.

“Looks like the highest totals in terms of our reports were in the Houlton/Island Falls area, where they had 15 to 17 inches,” said NWS Meteorologist Tim Duda. “Caribou was at 6.2 inches, and Presque Isle got about 11.”

The snowfall totals ranged widely, even between close-by towns. Fourteen inches were reported in East Machias, with just 8.5 in Machias.

“If a band sets up and you’re outside that heavier band, it’s not uncommon to see nearby areas pick up significant amounts while your area has much less,” Duda said.

Further north, Fort Kent received 5.5 inches and Madawaska 6. Heading south, Millinocket got 12 inches and Sebec 11. Bangor was on the lower end among Eastern Maine towns and cities, accumulating 7 inches.

“There was another burst of heavy snow that made it into Bangor between 11:30 to 12:30 Thursday night,” Duda said.

As far as the overall forecasted totals compared to the actual, Duda said things matched up fairly well.

“The amounts were a little bit overforecasted in certain areas, but it was pretty much right on target in most areas,” he said.

There could be some more snow on the way, but not nearly as much as Thursday’s storm brought.

“It looks like there’s another system moving off the mid-Atlantic Coast tomorrow and passing south of Nova Scotia which could bring some snow into the area Saturday night into Sunday, primarily for Washington County with other parts getting at least some light snowfall,” Duda said.

Portland International Jetport reported 10 inches on the ground Friday morning

Snow primarily stopped around midnight in southern Maine with things finishing up around 7 a.m. in Bangor and 1 p.m. Friday in Aroostook County.

Rangeley was left with 13.5 inches as the top snowed-in community in southern Maine. The Lewiston-Auburn area reported 9.5 inches at 7 a.m. Friday. North Windham had 13 and Lebanon 12.

“The average accumulation was at least 9 inches in every locale in Southern Maine, but there were no reported power outages or major damage,” said NWS Meteorologist Nikki Becker. “There was a lot of drifting, which made measurement difficult.”

The NWS posted a final update on its website just after 11 a.m.

For a complete listing of how much snow fell statewide, visit www.erh.noaa.gov/gyx/winter/LatestSnowfall.php.

At BIA and the Portland airport, flights took off and landed as scheduled with no delays or cancellations reported, spokespeople at both airports said Friday afternoon.

Aside from a collision between two pickup trucks carrying plows, the snowstorm passed quietly in Lincoln, said the town’s Public Works Department director, David Lloyd.

The department’s six plow trucks worked about 16 hours on Thursday, starting at 6:30 a.m. and plowing the town’s 70 miles of roadway. At times driving winds decreased visibility to a few hundred feet. Lloyd said he sent drivers home when he noticed fatigue becoming a factor in their performance, though no accidents involving them occurred.

“It was light, fluffy snow,” Lloyd said. “My guys were excited to see it because most of the stuff that came down last week was freezing rain. When you get an all-snow event, it is a piece of cake.”

The accident occurred on Transalpine Road near Phinney and Folsum Pond roads at about 4 p.m., said Police Chief William Lawrence, who had no details of the incident.

Most motorists stayed off the roads after 6:30 p.m. Thursday, making his department’s work a lot easier, Lloyd said.

BDN writers Andrew Neff, Ryan McLaughlin, and Nick Sambides Jr. contributed to this report.

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