BANGOR, Maine — Heavy freezing rain and rising wind is knocking out power to customers around the state just a week after reconnections were wrapping up from a Christmas-week ice storm.
Emera Maine spokeswoman Susan Faloon said outages climbed on Monday due to windy and rainy conditions.
“Melting is causing ice to fall from tree limbs causing added damage,” she said. “Icing may occur later in the day as temperatures drop which may cause additional power outages.”
Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative reported about 600 customers in Washington County without power in an area roughly between Perry, Wesley and Topsfield with some customers in the Danforth area also without power. Service should be restored to customers later today, said cooperative spokesman Charlie McAlpin, although high winds could cause additional outages, he noted.
Much of Eastern Maine is under a wind advisory until 6 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington county residents can expect 25-35 mph winds, the weather service said, with gusts as high as 45 mph.
Most of the state was under a freezing rain advisory overnight. That has been lifted but roads are still expected to be slick.
Lead meteorologist Joe Hewitt of the National Weather Service in Caribou said Sunday that Monday’s rain, which could be as much as 3/4 inch in the coastal areas, will fall on top of melted snow and could clog storm drains.
The drenched snow will weigh heavily on rooftops already groaning under the recent snowfall. Thunderstorms were also predicted for central and southern counties.
Augusta police are advising residents to stay off the roads in the city if at all possible, and plugged storm drains are preventing safe passages on multiple streets.
“We are asking travelers in the City of Augusta to limit all travel unless absolutely necessary,” Augusta police Lt. Keith Brann said.
Brann is also advising drivers to avoid low-lying areas and hilly streets if travel is necessary.
Bangor police were also concerned about potential flooding in the downtown area, and as a result, the East and West Kenduskeag Plaza parking lots have been closed, Sgt. Cathy Rumsey said.
Those who hold permits in those lots should move their vehicles to the Lower Abbott Lot off Harlow Street or into the Pickering Square garage.
State police were also forced to shut down the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 around mile marker 161 in Newport for about 15 minutes Monday afternoon.
Lt. Wes Hussey said the shutdown was to remove a tractor trailer that left the road earlier in the day. The truck was in the median and no injuries were reported.
The shutdown was expected to last only 15 minutes, Hussey said.
Later in the week, the cold will return, with temperatures 0 to 10 degrees overnight Monday through Friday morning, and daytime highs no more than 15 to 20 degrees in the Bangor area. The southern part of the state will reach 25 to 30 degrees later in the week.
In northern and central Aroostook County, a freezing rain advisory from the National Weather Service Office in Caribou was in effect until 1 p.m., as freezing rain and pockets of rain were expected to bring accumulations of an inch to a quarter of an inch of ice to the area. Freezing rain began falling in the early morning hours, cancelling schools in several towns and several community organizations closed for the day.
Southern Aroostook was under a hazardous weather outlook, as forecasters warned that melting snow and ice in combination with another round of rain would lead to ponding of water of area roads. Schools and several community organizations closed. The NWS also said that culverts could become clogged leading to minor street flooding, which could freeze in the evening hours if on the roads and sidewalks.
Police in Aroostook County reported multiple accidents in the area due to ice and snow. The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department warned motorists on its Facebook page to stay off the road, reporting that they were working with the Maine State Police to help a tractor trailer that went off the road on Route 212 in Merrill sometime after 10 a.m.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits by early Tuesday morning.
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.