Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling firstname.lastname@example.org
The first major snowstorm of the season dumped about 6 to 8 inches of snow in central Maine by Monday afternoon, closing schools, causing traffic accidents and halting work at construction sites.
Larry Morrissette clears the driveway with a snow blower Monday morning in Hallowell, where at least 5 or 6 inches of snow had fallen overnight.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
A Winslow firefighter cradles a dog as rescuers help an injured driver out of a vehicle that slid off snow-covered Route 100 in Winslow on Monday. The dog was a passenger in the vehicle and escaped injury.
Staff photo by David Leaming
An additional 1 to 3 inches was expected to fall by this morning and skies were not expected to clear until Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. With temperatures expected to fluctuate around the freezing point, alternating periods of snow, rain and freezing drizzle will continue to cause slippery road conditions, according to the weather service.
Nikki Becker, a meteorologist with the service, said central Maine residents can expect the precipitation to change overnight from snow to a wintry mix, then back to snow by early morning and rain after that.
The lengthy storm is the result of two separate weather systems. The first, from the Great Lakes, began on Sunday evening; before it is through, the second, from the Pennsylvania area, will have arrived.
"It's going to kind of blur together," Becker said.
An advisory from the service said that ice will accumulate throughout Monday night and into today, with a total thickness of up to a tenth of an inch of ice expected.
The total amount of accumulated snow is expected to top out at about 8 inches, Becker said. Other snowfall totals as of Monday morning were: 6 inches in Farmington, 5.3 inches in Wayne, 4.8 inches in Vassalboro, 4.5 inches in Mount Vernon and 3.3 inches in Winslow, according to weather service data.
Some parts of the state got nearly 10 inches of snow by late Monday morning. Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley reported receiving about 7 inches by Monday morning and said forecasts called for a total accumulation of 16 to 30 inches in the resort's region later this week.
In Waterville, Public Works Director Mark Turner said Monday that road crews went out around midnight Sunday to treat slippery roads and at 3 a.m. they started clearing sidewalks and the downtown area.
Crews were scheduled to hit the streets again at 3 a.m. Tuesday to clean up snow and slush and clear catch basins in anticipation of warmer temperatures and a lot of rain, he said.
Driving conditions throughout the area were poor, leading to reports of vehicle accidents, most of them minor, throughout the region.
A little before 10 a.m., Winslow police responded to an accident on Clinton Avenue in which a woman's car went off the road and crashed into a tree. The woman went to the hospital with minor injuries while a small dog riding in the car with her was bundled up against the cold by rescue workers.
Waterville police dispatcher Addie Gilman said around 3:30 p.m. that a couple of vehicles had slid off roads, but no serious accidents were reported.
There were several accidents on Interstate 95 throughout the day, but most were not serious, according to Maine State Police Trooper Derrick Record.
In one case, a big rig truck jackknifed, injuring the driver and tying up traffic for nearly an hour.
Augusta schools closed for the day, and schedules were disrupted at some other districts, but many, including districts based in Fairfield, Oakland, Pittsfield, Skowhegan and Waterville, stayed open.
Anson-based School Administrative District 74 closed for the day and canceled all after-school activities. Madison-based School Administrative District 59 sent students home at 1 p.m. and also canceled a school board meeting. Bingham-based School Administrative District 13 had a one-hour delay but was open the rest of the day.
One immediate impact of the storm was the delay of some outdoor demolition work at the Gerald Hotel renovation project in downtown Fairfield.
At the site, Sheridan Construction workers weren't able to follow through on the scheduled demolition of a former bottle redemption center, in part because some of the workers had been called upon to do snow plowing work throughout the day.
Dan Wildes, vice president of Sheridan, said snow is a mixed bag when it comes to construction projects. While construction activity tends to cool off in the winter, Wildes said, it is possible to do almost any project, even during freezing temperatures in the dead of winter.
The reason many projects halt is that, when snow comes, it makes work slower and more difficult, which translates into higher costs for the same amount of work.
"There's really nothing that stops you, but it's expensive," Wildes said. "If you're working in 10 degrees instead of 50 degrees, it's slower," he said.
Staff writers Amy Calder, Craig Crosby and Rachel Ohm contributed to this report.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287