The weekend blizzard was a bust, but don’t let the lack of snow lure you into a false sense of security.

A wind chill advisory issued by the National Weather Service Sunday morning warns that wind chill that can make the air feel like 20 to 30 below zero is moving into central Maine, and that blowing snow from the strong wind can still be a road hazard, despite the fact little snow fell overnight Saturday into Sunday.

A few inches of snow fell lightly on central Maine this weekend, a far cry from the 18 inches to two feet predicted.

Plow truck drivers who had been out all night clearing roads and parking lots could sleep a little later until the wind started forming snow drifts.

Most events remained canceled Sunday, and the roads were relatively free of traffic.

“The storm system went a little further east and the strongest bit of snow hit York County in Maine and parts of New Hampshire, with the highest amounts were along the coast,” said Nikki Becker, a meteorologist at the Gray weather service office. She said it was originally predicted to track farther west to central Maine, but the track changed.


Snow totals reported Sunday showed between an inch and two in places like Wayne, Augusta and Winslow.

However, the wind chill advisory replaced the blizzard warning, and is expected to remain in effect until noon on Monday.

The weather service warned of frostbite, hypothermia and hazardous road conditions from blowing snow for those venturing outdoors.

“Very cold air is moving in from Canada and will combine with the strong winds to produce dangerously cold wind chill values (Sunday) evening through Monday,” according to the weather service warning.

Few issues had been reported by mid-afternoon Sunday, but in Waterville, the wind was believed to be the cause of a downed power line that reduced traffic on Elm Street to one lane at around 3:45 p.m.

A Waterville police officer at the scene said Fairpoint Communications had been notified and crews would be coming to fix the line later on Sunday.



The cold weather is nothing new in the area — it’s been almost a month since temperatures rose above freezing.

Recordings at the Augusta State Airport show that Jan. 19 was the last time the temperature was above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. On Sunday, the forecast showed no temperatures above freezing in the coming seven days, which is as far as the weather service will predict.

The cold weather already has caused problems for people trying to keep warm.

At the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville, Executive Director Betty Palmer said the increased cold and frequency of storms has led to increased costs at the shelter.

“It increases the numbers,” she said. “It increases the cost of taking care of people.”


“Even though utility prices are down, if you’re using more of them your budget doesn’t look like they’re down. Honestly, the colder it gets the more people are in the shelter and the more it takes to run the shelter,” she said.

The shelter gets $1 per guest from the state’s general fund to care for visitors at the shelter and up to $10 per day in additional state and federal funding for the first 18 people to stay at the shelter each day, Palmer said. The rest of the shelter’s costs are covered by donations, she said.

“If you’re in a camper or a car, it’s not just short spells of cold that you’re dealing with. It’s been a very cold, snowy, windy winter and the wind goes through all those temporary dwellings like crazy,” Palmer said.

A total of 52 people stayed at the Waterville shelter Saturday night, one of the highest numbers of the year so far. The shelter has 48 beds, but will not turn people away and will provide floor mats for additional people, Palmer said.

With the recent cold temperatures, the shelter has also had an influx in people coming during the day to take hot showers because their pipes are frozen.

“We’re showering people from the community, and often times giving them meals to go,” Palmer said. “So all of those added expenses to a hard winter aren’t just for the homeless.”


There are currently 18 children staying at the shelter who will not be in school next week because of February break and will be spending more time at and eating more meals at the shelter. With bad weather, it is also harder to get volunteers, many of whom are elderly, to work at the shelter. Many others take the February break off to spend with their own children.

“All of our kids will be in all week. We always serve three meals per week, but now it will be 50 meals three times a day. All of our kids will be in during the day, so if anybody wants to come and do anything fun with kids, we would be so thankful for that,” Palmer said. “If people are feeling snowed in and they only have two kids, imagine having 18.”

In Augusta, the Bread of Life Ministries shelter on Hospital Street was full on Sunday, and the Augusta Community Warming Center, open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily at 44 Front St., had more than 30 people in a out on Sunday.

Among them was Craig Dorr, of Augusta, who spends most of his days here, using some of that time to volunteer.

On Sundays, Dorr, 42, walks to and from his apartment, keeping warm in a goose down L.L. Bean jacket and Marine Corps boots. “I dress appropriately,” he said. He said in the 1980s and 1990s “it was a lot worse than this and I got by just fine.”

He helps with the twice-a-day cleaning at the center. “I get to help people out and do stuff to allow people to use the resources.”


Dorr said he’s applied for a landscaping job and hopes to start in mid March.

Center Director Deidrah Stanchfield said the cold weather has meant the shelter has been busy with guests.

“I like to call them guests because I like to make a good homey atmosphere down here,” she said.

The center’s entrance is on the lower back side of a Water Street building.

“We are open no matter what,” she said. Stanchfield said she too is anticipating hosting more children during this school vacation week. There’s a special room for children and families, a table frequented by an active group of cribbage players, and even some food on Sundays when the Bread of Life Ministries soup kitchen is closed.

“Today we had minestrone soup with chicken, egg casserole and shepherd’s pie,” all cooked and delivered by volunteers from the community, Stanchfield said.


Stanchfield said she and the two center managers try to help people find shelter and other resources for nighttime. But because most of the area shelters are full, they’ve had to reach out as far as Skowhegan and Farmington and then try to make travel arrangements.

“The weekends are extra hard trying to find resources,” she said.


Central Maine gets a sunny break Monday, the Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day holiday, before forecast clouds and snow showers Tuesday and Wednesday.

Temperatures for the week, when most Maine schools are on vacation, are cold, with the highs Monday and again Friday hitting 10 or 11 and the other days hitting the high teens and low 20s.

Long-range forecsts show a possibility of snow a week from Monday, but how much is yet to be determined.


According to the Old Farmers Almanac, beginning Feb. 25, a mild period with possible showers may be coming, and the March foecast shows an average temperature of 33.

Staff writer Rachel Ohm contributed to this report


Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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