The first significant accumulation of snow this season brought with it dozens of automobile accidents that kept public safety agencies in central Maine scrambling to keep up Wednesday.

The National Weather Service in Gray issued a hazardous weather alert that was in effect into Wednesday evening as a steady snowfall made for dangerous driving conditions in some areas.

Up to 2 inches of snow was expected to cover Kennebec and Somerset counties, with temperatures lingering in the low 20s. Some areas could see 3 inches, with the weather service reporting that higher amounts could occur along some parts of the coast.

Maine State Police slow traffic Wednesday at the scene of a tractor-trailer accident south of the Newport exit on Interstate 95. The region saw its first significant snowfall of the year Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We’ve had accidents in Madison, Solon, Cornville, a couple in St. Albans in the last few hours, just to name a few,” said Michael Mitchell, chief deputy for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

“The roads are getting really slippery. I suspect we’ll have a rash of accidents into the evening,” Mitchell said. “We’re encouraging motorists to slow down and drive safely.”

Michael Smith, director of the Somerset County Emergency Management Agency, said in an email that there were no immediate reports of utility lines or trees on roads.

“(The dispatch logs reflect) about 40 motor vehicle accidents reported since noon (Wednesday), and I would assume they were attributed to the road conditions,” Smith said.

Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, reported an increase in calls for Troop C and Troop D of the Maine State Police, which provide coverage along interstates 95 and 295.

Crews clear the walkways Wednesday at Colby College in Waterville. The region saw the first significant snowfall of the year Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Troop D has had a few crashes, Troop C has had the most,” Moss said.

She said reports of crashes along Interstate 95 in central Maine began to intensify around noon. Those included a tractor-trailer off the interstate next to the southbound lanes near Newport and Palmyra.

She said early indications were that “people are driving way too fast for the road conditions and people need to slow down and drive safe.”

Forecasts called for partly cloudy skies in the region Thursday with temperatures in the low 30s. Light snow could return Friday before temperatures warm into the low 50s Saturday with rain expected.

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