A daylong snowstorm brought more snow than expected Friday and took residents and public works departments by surprise as it caused accidents throughout central Maine.

Accidents in Kennebec County and southern Somerset and Franklin counties kept police and fire departments busy most of the day.

While the snow wound down through most of the region by late afternoon, a winter weather advisory remained in effect for southern Franklin and Somerset counties until 7 p.m.

Early estimates had called for 3 to 6 inches in the Augusta-Waterville area, but by 2 p.m. the National Weather Service in Gray predicted a total of 6 to 8 inches.

The storm led to school cancellations across the region, which were at first the target of grumbles at local shops and social media in the Waterville area.

But as the snow continued to fall and road conditions worsened, it became a “good call,” Waterville Public Works Director Mark Turner said.

“I think the forecasts were all over the place on this one,” he said Friday afternoon. “It seemed to change every hour. It’s one of those weird storms that are hard to predict.”

Turner said he heard about the impending storm Thursday night when a coating of snow was predicted, and then 1 to 3 inches.

“It moved farther inland, and now we have 6 (inches), and it’s still coming down, so we’ll probably end up with 6 to 8 by the time it’s all over,” Turner said. “I think everyone, even the weather folks, were kind of thrown a curve ball on this.”

Waterville Public Works employees still were out clearing roads as darkness began to fall, and doing well, Turner said.

“Equipment and manpower are holding up just fine,” he said.

Augusta police were called to respond to almost three dozen accidents during daylight hours Friday. While at least one crash, reported at 9:21 a.m. on Riverside Drive, sent people to the hospital, most of the accidents appeared to result in minor damage to the vehicles.

The crashes kept tow truck drivers busy as well.

Motorists who had to be out on the roads Friday drove slowly through the heavy snow.

By 3 p.m. Friday, eight accidents had been reported to the Waterville Regional Communications Center, which dispatches for the city and area towns; but no serious injuries were reported, according to a dispatcher. Another six calls were from people reporting vehicles sliding off the road. Police also received reports of vehicles getting stuck in snow or having trouble climbing hills.

Roads in Franklin County, where about 3 to 6 inches were predicted before it wound down later in the night, were snow-covered at “a little slippery and greasy,” Franklin County dispatcher Kyle Ellis said around 5 p.m.

He said there were several accidents, though none serious, and a number of slide-offs.

A Somerset County Communications dispatcher also reported several accidents and vehicles sliding off roads, but none serious, and most of the accidents occurred in the southern part of the county.

The snow, coming up the East Coast, began falling in central Maine between 7 and 8 a.m., and that’s when the accidents started.

In Winthrop, a state plow truck was rear-ended by a car on Route 133 about 8 a.m. No injuries were reported, and the crash resulted in about $1,000 worth of damage to the plow, according to Ted Talbot, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. He said the plow was damaged enough that it would be taken out of rotation for plowing Friday and replaced with another one.

“This does happen when visibility is bad,” Talbot said. “It’s not a great amount (of snow), but that doesn’t mean driving is not tricky.”

The speed limits on the Maine Turnpike from the New Hampshire line to mile 109 in Augusta was reduced to 45 mph for the day.

State police responded to numerous slide-offs on Interstate 95, including one that involved four cars around 1 p.m. near mile 124 in Sidney.

A pickup truck rolled over around 8 a.m. on slick Garland Road in Winslow.

The driver was the only occupant, and she was not injured in the crash, according to Charles Theobald, Winslow’s assistant fire chief.

Garland Road was covered with a thin layer of wet, slick snow, and the road condition was responsible for the crash, he said.

A rollover was reported around the same time on Webb Road in Oakland, but neither of the two passengers in the pickup truck in that accident was injured, police said. The town dealt with several accidents over the course of the day, but a dispatcher shortly before 5 p.m. said none was serious.

Staff writers Rachel Ohm, Amy Calder, Peter McGuire and Betty Adams and Portland Press Herald staff writer Gillian Graham contributed reporting.

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