AUGUSTA — Few people like clearing the snow off their cars. For Scott Freeman, the experience is magnified many times.

On Thursday, the sales manager of Quirk Ford spent most of the day outside with his staff members, including Scott Stevens, clearing snow from the inventory of dozens and dozens of vehicles at Quirk Ford of Augusta.

Like thousands of other people across central Maine, Freeman was dealing with the aftermath of a late winter storm that dropped anywhere from 1 foot to 2 feet of snow across most of the state and about a foot of snow on each and every one of his vehicles.

“Most of us that have been in the business have been doing this for an average of 15 to 20 years now, so I would like to consider us a finely tuned machine,” Freeman said during a short break at midday Thursday. “But we have to tweak it every once in a while. Every storm is not created the same.”

A nor’easter — the second in less than a week — tore through the state on Tuesday, producing near-blizzard conditions and burying roads, sidewalks and driveways under snowdrifts. Many schools in central Maine remained closed Wednesday as communities dug out.

The storm lasted more than 24 hours, with snow continuing to fall through the day Wednesday.

Yania Quirion, who lives in Fairfield Center, reported 16 inches had fallen by Wednesday, and the snow was continuing to come down. She also said the power had been out for more than two hours.

In Skowhegan, Road Commissioner Greg Dore reported 24 inches of new snow at the town garage.

“Where I measured it was on the south side of the building, so it doesn’t get the wind,” he said. “It’s not very scientific.”

This is the second nor’easter to hit central Maine in two weeks, and the tolerance for snow is running as thin the department’s overtime budget.

“Everyone in town is getting upset because we’re running out of places to put it,” Dore said.

Jerry Dostie, Augusta’s street superintendent, measured 15 inches of snow at the city’s Public Works Department.

“It was 12 inches last night around midnight,” Dostie said. “We have received a bit more and it may have settled,” Dostie said.

While the snowfall tapered off Wednesday, Dostie said snow removal operations will continue for a few nights more.

“I’m glad it’s March 14 and not January 14,” he said.

As plows continued to clear roads and people wielded their shovels, the storm’s effect continued to be felt from small things to large.

In some communities, such as Augusta, trash pickup has been delayed; and in others, such as Richmond, the snow caused the local libraries to open late.

For the second day in a row, central Maine school districts canceled school, keeping children at home and school buses off the roads.

With the closures came the cancellation of planned walkouts, part of a national protest of gun violence in schools. Earlier this week, Gardiner Area High School Principal Chad Kempton said if schools were closed Wednesday, the event planned by Gardiner students would not be rescheduled.

On Wednesday, Kempton said one of the student organizers had been in touch with him, and he expects to meet next week with the student to talk about having an event that honors the spirit of the protest.

It was unclear Wednesday whether other school districts would reschedule their planned events or do something different.

The closure of Augusta schools also meant that Cony High School’s Wednesday performance of its annual Chizzle Wizzle variety show has been canceled. To make up for it, a show has been added on March 23. Tickets for this week’s canceled shows can be exchanged for tickets this Thursday and Friday or next Friday.

Concord Trailways restarted its service Wednesday, although some routes were experiencing delays.

State and local governments announced late starts Wednesday, including the Legislature, Augusta and Waterville and Richmond.

Central Maine Power Co. outages peaked around 7,000 at 9:30 a.m., but had dropped to 1,600 by 2 p.m. The outages were scattered across the company’s coverage area, with the largest outages reported in Cumberland, Oxford and Penobscot counties. More than 1,400 customers were without power Wednesday morning in Scarborough.

The late-winter storm may not be the last of the season.

Public works directors are among the people who are diligent in monitoring weather forecasts.

Tony LaPlante, Gardiner’s public works director, said there is potential for another storm next week, but it’s too soon to say what track it will take.

“Last Friday, this one was going to miss us,” he said.

Even if that storm doesn’t bring snow to central Maine, LaPlante said, his department is going to be over its budget for the year on snow removal.

“There’s not two ways around it,” he said. “The traveling public’s safety is our primary goal.”

At the Quirk dealership, Freeman and his crew delayed their snow removal operations until about 11 a.m., and they expected to be done between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The timing was so that they would not have to clear them off twice.

And if another storm materializes next week, Freeman had this to say: “You may find some of us in the local looney bin. Enough is enough. We’ve all cried mercy more than once this season.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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