Snow, sleet and freezing rain coated much of the state in an icy glaze Friday, creating treacherous travel conditions and knocking out power to thousands.

Around 10 a.m. Saturday, more than 16,000 Central Maine Power customers were in the dark — more than 10,000 of them York County.

Much colder weather is on tap for the weekend, with highs in Portland only in the 20s Saturday and temperatures dropping to around zero Saturday night into Sunday morning. The next chance for precipitation is late Sunday into Monday.

State offices and schools were closed Friday and officials warned drivers to stay off the roads whenever possible. The National Weather Service said about a quarter-inch of ice was expected in many areas before the storm ended Friday night.

Portland declared a citywide parking ban from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. Any cars left on city streets were to be towed, though towing started was to start later for some streets in the Old Port.

“If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out,” said Paul Merrill, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation.

Gov. Janet Mills announced early Friday that all state offices were closed, and the Maine Legislature, which is in its second legislative session, also shut down.

Mills said in a statement, “I urge Maine people to exercise extreme caution if they must be on the roads and give our road crews and first responders plenty of room as they work to keep us safe.”

The biggest threat Friday in southern Maines was ice accumulation from freezing rain. As night fell and temperatures plummeted, rain turned to sleet and snow, coating roadways in a slick sheen.

Chris Kimble, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said drivers should stay alert for slippery spots, even on roads that may seem well treated.

“The biggest impact may be on untreated sidewalks, decks and patios,” he said. “These areas will be slick and people will need to take extra precautions to avoid falling.”

State police responded to numerous slide-offs and minor crashes, the most serious just before 1 p.m., when a 25-year-old Massachusetts man lost control in the passing lane along Interstate 95 in Saco.

Police said Marco Yeung of Quincy, Mass., suffered head injuries when he slid into the path of a northbound truck owned by New England Gypsum of South Portland.

The truck slammed into the side of Yeung’s sedan, crushing both doors and sending the car off the road. Yeung was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center. The driver of the truck was unhurt.

Dozens of schools, colleges, child care centers and town offices in southern Maine were closed Friday because of weather.

The speed limit on the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 295 was reduced to 45 mph.

At the Portland International Jetport, a dozen flights scheduled to arrive or depart Friday were cancelled or delayed.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: