HOULTON, Maine — Residents of northern Maine hoping for a white Christmas and an early start to the snowmobile season were rejoicing Wednesday as a major winter storm brought heavy snowfall to the area.
Snow began falling on Tuesday night and continued Wednesday, with officials from the National Weather Service in Caribou keeping a winter storm warning in effect until 7 p.m. for Aroostook, Penobscot, Somerset and Piscataquis counties. Other parts of the state experienced rain and a mixture of rain and snow.
By 4 p.m. Wednesday, the majority of Aroostook County towns had recorded double-digit snowfall accumulations. Communities around Houlton saw between 14 and 18 inches of snow, with parts of the St. John Valley picking up between 10 and 14 inches of snow.
Other parts of the state also saw significant accumulation, according to the weather service. Shin Pond, in Penobscot County, picked up 22.5 inches of snow by Wednesday evening. In Piscataquis County, Kokadjo picked up 12 inches. And Topsfield in Washington County recorded 11 inches.
Lincoln saw between 6 and 8 inches of snow, while Bangor mainly saw a mix of snow and rain that amounted to between 2 and 4 inches.
Many schools throughout the state were closed, as were a number of businesses. Most events and games also were canceled or postponed. Schools in southern Maine, which was not hit as hard by the storm, delayed the start of classes Wednesday morning.
Bangor Hydro crews continued Wednesday evening to work to restore power in northern Penobscot County as ice and snow brought down numerous tree limbs and power lines. Outages were scattered and it was primarily customers in remote areas who were affected. Poor travel conditions also slightly hampered restoration efforts, according to a company official, who reported that 894 customers were without power at about 4 p.m., down from more than 1,200 earlier in the day. Crews were going to work through the evening to restore service to as many customers as possible, said Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon.
In Aroostook County, Maine Public Service customers also saw scattered power outages, with about 3,000 customers losing power on and off Tuesday night and most of Wednesday.
On Wednesday evening, crews worked to restore power in central and southern Aroostook, said Virginia Joles, director of public information for the power company.
Joles said that fewer than 460 customers were without power at 5 p.m. Police reported minor accidents in Presque Isle, Caribou and Fort Kent but none resulted in serious injury.