Winter finally made its presence felt in Maine on Monday with the second storm in four days bringing a mix of snow and sleet along the coast and dropping 10 to 12 inches on interior areas, closing schools and offices and causing power outages and dozens of car crashes.

The storm, which began Sunday night, packed wind gusts that reached 64 mph at the Portland International Jetport, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. More than a dozen flights were delayed or canceled at the jetport on Monday.

Snow was falling at roughly an inch per hour at times Monday afternoon, leading to poor visibility and difficult driving during the evening commute. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for much of the state that was in effect until 10 p.m. Monday. A gale warning was issued through 6 a.m. Tuesday, with north winds of 20 to 30 knots with gusts of 40 knots and seas of 6 to 9 feet predicted.

Jax Brewer, 7, of Portland catches air off a snow ramp at Payson Park on Monday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The storm made travel difficult throughout the day, particularly along the Interstate 95 corridor, the weather service said.

Maine State Police troopers responded to 64 crashes and slide-offs on the Maine Turnpike between the start of the storm and early Monday afternoon. People were driving too fast for the conditions, state police said.

“The majority of drivers are going too fast for road conditions and losing control, hitting guardrails or landing in the median or ditch,” state police said in a tweet.


The Maine Turnpike Authority lowered the speed limit on the turnpike to 45 mph around 8 p.m. Sunday due to snowy conditions.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency urged people to avoid traveling, as the snow made travel difficult throughout the day and into the evening.

“I urge Maine people to avoid driving during the storm, if possible. If you must drive, give yourself extra time and give our plow drivers and emergency first responders plenty of room as they work to keep us safe,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement Sunday night.

In South Berwick, the fire department asked people to stay home on Monday because a mix of rain, ice and snow created very slippery conditions.

“The winter storm currently hitting town has caused many roadways to be blocked by downed trees and power lines. Please stay off the roads!” fire department officials posted on Facebook. “There are too many blocked and/or obstructed roads to list, and the list grows as the storm is evolving.”

Much of Maine received the first significant snowfall of the winter on Friday. Cold temperatures over the weekend prevented melting and left tree branches heavy with snow, further raising the risk of power outages on Monday.


Central Maine Power was reporting more than 26,298 outages as of 6 p.m., with all but 43 of those in York County. Within the county, there are significant outages in Berwick, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, South Berwick, Wells and York. In Wells, 98% of CMP customers in town were without power Monday afternoon.

CMP secured extra storm response crews to restore power, CMP spokesman Jon Breed said Sunday in a prepared statement that warned of the potential for outages because of the wet snow and strong winds.

Alice Grace, 88, clears snow and ice from her Nissan sedan on Monday, Jan. 23 near her home on John Avenue in Waterville. Grace said she had the car in the street while her driveway was being cleared during the snow storm. (Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel)

The Amtrak Downeaster was forced to cancel several trips on Monday because of trees across the tracks in Wells. The impacted trips include southbound trains 680, 682 and 684 and northbound trains 681, 683 and 685.

Greater Portland Metro buses operated, but travel was slow because of the weather. Travelers should leave extra time for their trips, Metro said.

Most school districts across southern Maine that had snow days on Friday closed again on Monday, giving students and staff a surprise four-day weekend.

Mills announced Sunday that all state offices would be closed Monday. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court  also closed due to the storm.

After the storm winds down Monday night, Mainers won’t get much of a reprieve. Another storm system is expected to move into the area Wednesday night into Thursday. That system has the potential to bring significant amounts of both rain and snow, along with gusty winds, the weather service said.

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