Saturday nor’easter brings outages, accidents
As the first major snowstorm of the season blanketed the region from Friday night into Saturday, more than 100,000 Central Maine Power customers lost power.
By Saturday afternoon, CMP had reported the restoration of power to around 43,000 customers. A total of around 108,700 customers were affected, 65,000 were without power as of 5:55 p.m
Parking bans resulted in over 100 vehicles being towed across Lewiston and Auburn Friday night and early Saturday as weather and accidents continue to affect central and southern Maine.
Snow accumulations reached 4 inches in some areas of Androscoggin County by dawn and as much as 18 inches in others. Maine received a winter storm warning at 10:12 a.m. Saturday, and the National Weather Service forecast another 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulation in the Lewiston-Auburn area before the warning was expected to end at 12:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Central Maine Power released a statement noting that crews are doing whatever it takes to restore power. but many communities remain impassable. Kerri Therriault, operations director of CMP Electric, said over 1,000 resources, including 200 CMP line workers, 220 contract line workers and 238 tree workers, are roaming the system, with 90 backup line workers due to arrive later in the evening and 28 backhoe trucks are currently replacing utility poles .
“This will be a multi-day recovery effort and some customers may be without power through late Monday evening or early Tuesday in some of the hardest-hit, more remote areas,” Therriault said.
As of 5:55 p.m. Saturday, CMP reported 13,472 customers without power in Androscoggin County; 10,057 in Cumberland County; 2,977 in Franklin County; 6,928 in Kennebec County; and 20,827 in Oxford County.
Auburn had 2,683 customers and Lewiston had 1,942 with no power at 5:55 p.m. All roads were still under investigation in the early afternoon as the number of outages continued to fluctuate across the area. Other Androscoggin County cities with significant outages include Turner with 1,859 offline at 5:55 p.m.; Poland, 1,924; green, 1,032; Leeds, 906; Durham, 185; Minot, 641; Livermore Falls, 528; Livermore 550; Sabatus, 475; mechanic falls, 316; Wales, 331; and Lisbon, 87. Fayette, Hartford, Hebron, Jay and New Gloucester also have some customers offline.
Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson said deputies have been responding to accidents “on a call-to-call basis” since Friday night. Accidents on Sawyer Road in Green and Route 197 in Wales resulted in road closures which reopened at 8:25am on Saturday.
Greene’s accident brought emergency responders to a tractor-trailer truck on its side. The truck cab came to rest upright on an embankment and the trailer twisted severely across the width of Sawyer Road. At this point Friday, the area had about 1 inch of snow accumulation, which officials attributed to the crash.
The Auburn Walmart parking lot was an all-day alternation of vehicles arriving to shop and departing upon learning the store was closed. A Lowe’s employee told Sun Journal that her store and the Walmart across the street were without power around 9 a.m. Saturday. She said Lowe’s generator kicked on shortly after she arrived, but Walmart went without power all day. A Walmart store manager said his store was without power as of 11 a.m. They didn’t say if their store had a backup generator or if food was lost.
Lewiston Police Department Lt. Derrick St Laurent said a parking ban went into effect at 1am Saturday to forestall a later than forecast storm. The primary reason for the prompt start of towing at 1 am was to be considerate of tow truck drivers who did not want to wait until large drifts blocked their path and wanted to avoid plow trucks waiting for their removal. The ban ended at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“We are doing everything we can to let people know that a parking ban is in effect. We use social media, our website. We did our best to let people know in advance that they need to move their vehicles.”
Auburn’s parking ban began at 9 p.m. Friday for similar reasons, and towing operations have been ongoing since. Auburn Police said via social media that as of 6 a.m. there had been about a dozen crashes with no serious injuries and many vehicles off the road. The city urged residents to comply with the ban by the end of Saturday at 9 p.m.
“As for ‘first storms of the season,’ that’s been pretty good,” Auburn Police said in a Facebook post, “and it’s not quite over yet. There are many power lines and tree branches below. We encourage residents to stay safe and at home out the streets to allow Auburn Public Works to do what they do best.”
Some of Androscoggin County’s roads have estimated power restoration times. Residents can check CMP’s outage schedule to see when power is expected to be restored on a particular street. They are organized by county, city and street at www.cmpco.com/wps/portal/cmp/outages/reportorviewoutage/viewoutagelist/.
Officials say the snow is likely to continue into the evening, followed by a 70 percent chance of snow showers after midnight. The National Weather Service is forecasting little accumulation for Sunday, with temperatures expected to remain in the upper 20s.
Forecasts for the remainder of the week will jump between the mid-20s and mid-30s for temperatures, heavy squalls Sunday and Monday and mostly sunny through Thursday night when snow chances reach 70%. On Friday there is an 80% chance that it will snow in the morning and rain at night.
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