Jay Lombard of Portland hauls a chunk of snow away from his car Friday morning on Cutter Street. Lombard was among dozens of people who had parked on Cutter Street – a haven during citywide parking bans. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

As Mainers dug cars out from under deep snowdrifts Friday morning, a cleanup crew in Scarborough was drying out the Clambake Seafood Restaurant after pumping out as much as 3 inches of saltwater.

“We knew we were going to get it,” said Kevin Thurlow, co-owner of the Clambake, an eatery beside the Scarborough Marsh that floods an average of twice a year.

Thursday’s blizzard dumped nearly a foot of snow on Portland and caused a near-record high tide and widespread coastal flooding.

But attention Friday quickly turned to the next winter challenge. The Maine Emergency Management Agency issued a safety reminder as it continued to assess storm-related issues in the face of continuing severe cold.

“Extremely cold temperatures are expected to set in tonight and continue through the weekend,” the agency said. “Concerns today include heating fuel needs, flooding, snow removal safety and extremely cold temperatures.”

The temperature was expected to dip to 5 to 10 below zero in the Portland area Friday night into Saturday, with a wind chill of minus 24 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

On Saturday night, the lows should range from 10 to 15 below in Greater Portland, with a wind chill of 20 to 30 below, said Eric Sinsabaugh, a meteorologist with the weather service. It will be even colder in Fryeburg and Sanford, where temperatures will be 20 to 25 below zero with wind chills of about 35 below. The state’s western mountain towns will see temperatures of 20 to 30 below zero Saturday night into Sunday with wind chills of 30 to 43 below.

Despite blizzard conditions and flooding Thursday afternoon, the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency in Windham had yet to receive any damage reports late Friday morning.

Otter, a retriever and lab mix, awaits another shovelful of snow as Tracy Tingley, manager of Fish & Bone pet shop, digs out Friday on Commercial Street in Portland. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

“That’s a positive,” Director Jim Budway said. “We were prepared for the worst.”

The York County Emergency Management Agency in Alfred was similarly quiet, although it reported a spike in calls to fire departments because drifting snow was covering outdoor heating vents and setting off carbon monoxide detectors.

“Remember to clear vents around your house that may become clogged by drifting snow,” Deputy Director David Francoeur said. “This could cause problems with carbon monoxide entering your home.”

Nationally, at least 10 people died in storm-related accidents, including a 13-year-old girl who was sickened by carbon monoxide in an apartment building in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, The Associated Press reported.

In Massachusetts, a worker suffered cardiac arrest and died Friday while clearing snow at a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority facility. Two people died of cardiac arrest during the storm Thursday on New York’s Long Island, officials said. And in Maine, authorities are still searching for a Thomaston clammer who disappeared during the storm.

Thursday’s blizzard pushed tidal flooding to levels not seen in four decades, with Portland recording its third-highest tide since weather officials started keeping track more than 100 years ago. Flooded roads, buildings and piers were reported all along the Maine coast, from York to Machias.

Jim Rydel polishes the floor of the Clambake Seafood Restaurant at Pine Point in Scarborough on Friday, a day after a storm-swollen high tide pushed saltwater out of the nearby marsh and into the seasonal restaurant. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

But many of the flooded areas are often struck during storms, so some property owners have tried-and-true emergency response plans in place to handle cleanups.

At the Clambake, Thurlow said it’s better that flooding happened now, when the restaurant is closed from mid-October to mid-March, than during the high summer season.

During the offseason, when Thurlow lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida, he monitors the Clambake via the internet using indoor and outdoor security cameras.

A crew was cleaning the interior of the Clambake on Friday. After pumping out the water, they had to wash all the walls and floors to prevent salt staining and odors from the marsh water.

Plow trucks had cleared much of the snow and water that covered the Clambake’s parking area Thursday, Thurlow said.

“It always looks a lot worse outside than inside,” Thurlow said. “Everything seems to be fine there now.”

Thursday’s high tide in Portland was 13.79 feet, slightly below the 14.17 feet reported during the infamous Blizzard of 1978, according to the weather service. The second-highest level, 13.98 feet, also happened in 1978.

Sea levels already were high because of a nearly full moon, and the storm surge only made things worse, said John Cannon, a senior meteorologist at the weather service’s Gray office.

The sustained cold and second storm in as many weeks are taking a toll on public works departments, where overtime hours are adding up and plow trucks and other equipment are going offline because of overuse – and it’s only the first week of January.

“From Christmas until now, we haven’t had a chance to stop much,” Dave Jones, director of Lewiston Public Works, said Friday. “We’re getting through it.”

Jones said he has a few employees who haven’t had a day off in two weeks. After cleaning up from the storm on Christmas Day, his crew was playing catch-up on clearing sidewalks before Thursday’s storm dropped a foot of snow.

Mount Vernon got 15.3 inches of snow, according to weather service observers, while Turner and Norway received 15. The Portland International Jetport received 11.9 inches and Gorham got the most in Cumberland County with 13.6

Moe Blanchard, a sexton at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church on Congress Street in Portland, uses a snowblower to clear the church walkways on Friday. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

The continued wind and snowdrifts made Friday’s cleanup that much more difficult.

In Augusta, two workers in the city’s information technology department and an animal control officer were among the drivers taking the wheel of city plow trucks to help clear the snow, the Kennebec Journal reported.

Adding the city employees as relief drivers is one step city officials are taking this year to try to improve the clearing of city streets to deal with a statewide shortage of plow truck drivers and complaints about inadequate plowing last winter.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency urged property owners who heat with oil or propane to monitor fuel levels closely and clear paths for easy deliveries.

The agency also warned motorists to avoid driving through flooded areas because the water might be too deep and the road might be washed out.

In addition to clearing snow from heating and dryer vents, the agency recommended clearing fire hydrants to ensure neighborhood safety.

“With all of the recent snow, it is difficult for the fire departments to keep up with their day-to-day calls and keep the hydrants clear,” the agency said.

Press Herald Staff Writer Ray Routhier and Sun Journal Staff Writer Andrew Rice contributed to this report.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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