Just as Mainers were starting to think about emerging from another winter, a late-season storm pummeled much of the state Thursday with a foot of snow and knocked out power to nearly 30,000 electricity customers.
York County, where the coast was pounded with heavy surf by another nor’easter just a week ago, got the worst of this one, too. Around 20,000 Central Maine Power customers in that county lost electricity during the storm, which dumped more than a foot in several locales, including 19 inches in Sanford — the highest snowfall total for the storm in Maine.
In Wells, the Maine Diner remained open even though much of the York County town was without power after the storm dumped a foot and a half of snow.
“If people are going to lose power, then they need someplace to go. We do everything we can to stay open and provide that service,” said Jim MacNeill, the restaurant’s general manager.
Hazardous road conditions caused by the storm forced dozens of schools, businesses and government offices to close or delay openings across Maine. Gov. Paul LePage closed all state offices and encouraged residents to stay off roads “unless it is an absolute emergency.”
The storm hit harder farther south and west in the region, with some locales in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York measuring more than 2 feet of snow.
Downed lines Thursday morning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, resulted in both northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95 being closed for several hours. In Maine, speeds along the turnpike were reduced to 45 mph between Kittery and Augusta.
More than 800,000 customers were without power in the Northeast, including some who have been without electricity since last Friday’s destructive nor’easter. Thousands of flights across the region were canceled, and traveling on the ground was treacherous.
Outages for CMP peaked at more than 25,000 around midday Thursday. As of late Thursday afternoon, CMP reported it had 18,000 outages. Fewer than 12,000 customers in York County still lacked power, and 5,000 had no electricity in Lincoln County.
Emera Maine, which serves eastern and northern Maine, had nearly 2,500 customers without power Thursday, most due to a vehicle crash that took out a utility pole in the Ellsworth area. As of late Thursday afternoon, Emera still had roughly 1,ooo customers without power on Mount Desert Island and surrounding island communities.
With the exception of far northern Maine, which by late Thursday afternoon had only a few inches, the rest of the state got at least 6 inches of snow, and every county had at least one localized measurement of 12 inches or more.
Some towns in coastal Hancock and Washington counties got around 14 or 15 inches of snow, as did Portland and Brunswick, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall in the Bangor area ranged from 8 to 12 inches. Intermittent snow showers were still occurring Thursday evening, possibly adding another 2 to 3 inches to final tallies. Snowfall in Aroostook County was expected to end Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service office in Caribou.
In Bangor, the storm forced the suspension of the search for a 22-year-old local man who allegedly dove into the Kenduskeag Stream on March 2 to evade police, according to Richard Bowie, director of Orono-based Down East Emergency Medicine Institute. Peter Manuel is presumed to have drowned and his body to be in the Penobscot River between Bangor and Frankfort.
The search is expected to resume Friday afternoon, Bowie said Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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