A string of nasty weather, from snow Friday to freezing rain and sleet Saturday, made holiday travel tricky; and a potentially large snowstorm coming on Christmas, Monday, was expected to continue complicating holiday travel plans in central Maine.

Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said travelers would be better off traveling Sunday or Tuesday, rather than Monday.

The forecast for the Augusta and Waterville areas for Monday includes another 6 to 8 inches of snow, starting after midnight Sunday and continuing through Monday morning and early afternoon.

The forecast for Sunday, however, includes no precipitation, nor does Tuesday’s.

“If you’re looking to travel for the holiday, Sunday is the day to get that done,” Curtis said. “The 25th doesn’t look like a good day for travel. The 24th or 26th would be better than the 25th.”

Curtis said Saturday brought a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow across the state, with freezing rain widespread and making it “a mess out there.”

That mix of precipitation was expected to wind down after midnight Saturday.

Augusta police recorded relatively few car accidents, with only three reported by early Saturday afternoon, none of them involving injury. Several minor accidents and slide-offs were reported Friday night during the snowstorm, which brought, in total, about 8 inches to the Augusta area.

Sgt. Danny Boivin said on Saturday that roads were passable and motorists should be OK as long as they use caution and don’t go too fast.

“There is a fair amount (of traffic on the roads), with it, obviously, being the day before Christmas,” Boivin said. “Just use caution if you have to go out.”

State police responded to a report around 3 p.m. Saturday of head-on collision on Route 3 in Canaan. The driver of a sedan traveling toward Canaan crossed the road’s centerline and crashed into a pickup truck, causing airbags to deploy. A trooper who went to the scene said one of the drivers suffered a minor head injury. Oakland firefighters and emergency medical services also went to the crash scene.

In the Waterville area, police reported about six weather-related accidents and one vehicle sliding off the road, occurring between 5 a.m. and early Saturday afternoon. The accidents were all fender-benders, with one involving a minor head injury.

Sgt. Dan Goss, of Waterville police, said the day had been uneventful, especially compared to the number of accidents reported Friday.

“You’ll get there,” Goss said, urging drivers go slowly as they finish shopping and preparations for the holiday. “And at least you’ll get there in one piece.”

Several events were canceled because of the bad weather.

The Hatch Hill regional landfill, in Augusta, closed at noon Saturday because of freezing rain and sleet, according to a post on Augusta Public Works’ Facebook page.

Central Maine Power Co. officials, in a Thursday news release, said freezing rain could cause ice to build up on power lines and tree limbs, increasing the risk of power outages. Utility company officials said they were pre-positioning personnel and equipment to be ready to respond to restore power outages that might occur as a result of the storm.

Scattered power outages were reported Saturday afternoon, totaling just under 3,000 in CMP’s coverage area. Most of them were in Cumberland County, where at 4:30 p.m. there were 1,695 outages. York County had 523, and Lincoln County had 455.

Gail Rice, spokeswoman for CMP, urged customers to use caution if they see downed power lines.

“Everyone should stay clear of any downed power lines or fallen trees that may be tangled in the lines,” Rice said in the release. “All downed lines should be considered live and dangerous. Customers should leave the clean-up to our crews, who are trained and equipped to handle these situations safely.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


Emliy Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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