October 23, 2017
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Messy storm brings wild weather swings over the weekend

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Updated:
Anthony Brino | BDN | BDN
Anthony Brino | BDN | BDN
The sun peaks out as a snow squall swept over Presque Isle Thursday afternoon, as seen from the slopes of the Quoggy Joe Ski Club.

BANGOR, Maine — A weekend storm that swept across Maine Saturday into Sunday brought with it wildly fluctuating weather after a deep freeze Friday that made for some hazardous driving.

Between 3 and 6 inches of snow fell across the state Saturday, and as temperatures rose Saturday night into Sunday morning, the snow changed into freezing rain and then in some locations, plain old rain.

Bangor was one of the places that saw a rapid warm-up on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service’s Caribou office, which tweeted Sunday morning that the temperature there had jumped from 33 degrees to 42 degrees within an hour.

The weather service later tweeted that as of 10:30 a.m., Bangor, which had hit 46 degrees, was warmer than Houston, Texas, where the temperature was 39 degrees.

The entire state was under a hazardous weather outlook effective Sunday afternoon and evening, when temperatures were expected to drop below freezing as a cold front swept across the state, followed by a much colder mass of air later in the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Whether it was snow or freezing rain, driving conditions were difficult, resulting in dozens of crashes throughout the state.

Although cars and trucks crashed and slid off the roadway around the state, there were no reports of deaths from storm-related motor vehicle accidents in Maine as of Sunday afternoon.

In one of the more unusual crashes, a drunken driver struck two police cruisers from the Yarmouth and Freeport police departments on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth. No one was injured in that crash.

Dangerous travel conditions also resulted in more than 170 business and government closings and event cancellations, most of which were worship services and across southern Maine.

The weather also was to blame for outages Sunday morning that left a few thousand Emera Maine and Central Maine Power Co. customers without power.

Both utilities made significant headway in their efforts to restore power by midafternoon.

Emera Maine, which had 2,150 customers out as of 10:30 a.m., has restored power to all but 90 customers by 3 p.m.

By 6 p.m., however, subsequent rounds of outages had pushed the total back up to nearly 1,700. The bulk of the affected customers, nearly 1,200, were in Blue Hill, Burlington, Brooksville, Penobscot, Sedgwick and Winter Harbor.

CMP, which had about 400 customers out Sunday morning, restored service to all but 280 accounts as of 3 p.m. As of 6 p.m., the total had not budged much. It stood at 254.

Looking ahead, the weather service’s Caribou office said that bitterly cold conditions and gusty winds Sunday night into Monday morning will freeze standing water from Sunday’s rain or snowmelt, creating patches of black ice. Motorists are warned to use caution and be alert for rapidly changing road conditions.

In addition, northwest winds with gusts of up to 30 to 40 mph were possible, especially across the higher terrain of the central highlands and the Down East region. Strong winds combined with any ice that accumulated on trees and power lines during the day could result in power outages.

Forecasters said that the winds were expected to result in bitterly cold wind chills of minus 10 to minus 20 degrees across the northern and western parts of the state.

 


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