Workers clean up a fallen tree limb Friday that had been blocking one lane of Water Street in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The many area residents still without electricity, and dealing with shin-deep snow in their yards since this week’s unseasonable spring snowstorm can perhaps take solace in at least a couple of things.

The weather is expected to warm and melt that snow away and stay warm enough so frozen water pipes, even in unheated, powerless houses, aren’t a concern. And Central Maine Power is bringing in additional workers to help restore power following the storm that left some 350,000 customers without power, roughly half the utility’s customers.

And the snow melt is expected to take place gradually over the next few days, meaning flooding in streams and rivers from the melting snow shouldn’t be a problem.

“We’ll have a gradual melting, the snow should be mostly gone by the end of the day Monday, although some places have a lot of snow, so they may still have some,” said Stephen Baron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray. “An advantage of a more gradual melt, and not having rain on top of it, is flooding won’t be a concern.”

While the April snowstorm was unusual, Baron said it was not a record-breaking amount of snowfall for Maine, even for this time of year.

CMP crews started working on addressing outages in force Thursday, dropping the number of outages in the company’s coverage area from as many as 350,000 at peak, to 222,000 Friday afternoon.

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More than 450 line crews and 250 tree crews were deployed Thursday and Jon Breed, spokesperson for Central Maine Power, said hundreds more were on the way.

“We’ll be at about 1,000 (crews) by first thing tomorrow morning,” Breed said Friday. “In an effort like this, with so many crews, we’re working around the clock. We expect we’ll make a lot of progress today and into the weekend. We are working, we are in the field and getting into these communities that were really hard hit.”

During the worst of the storm Thursday, CMP workers responded to more than 1,200 emergency calls, such as trees and power lines down in roads, requiring an emergency response in the midst of the storm.

Those calls took priority, followed by restoring power to critical facilities like hospitals, with restoring substations and the transmission system, the backbone of the electrical grid carrying power across the state, a high priority, as well.

Breed said in this storm a number of 60- to 80-foot-tall trees came down on transmission lines, from outside those lines’ rights of way.

Breed said damage from fallen trees was significant as the heavy, wet snow clung to trees and strong winds blew them over and broke off branches. He said company arborists said it was some of the worst snow loading on trees they had seen in more than a decade.

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In addition to line crews restoring power, CMP specialists working in the field during storm recovery also include specialized crews and trucks that replace broken utility poles.

Friday afternoon in Kennebec County, there were 6,911 out of 74,479 CMP customers that were still without power. In Lincoln County, 19,565 out of 28,609 remained without power; 10,757 of 22,501 Sagadahoc County customers were powerless; while in Somerset County only one of 31,356 customers was listed as without power.

The weather forecast for the next few days shows a bit of a reprieve from the challenging weather.

Baron said Friday there could be some light scattered rain and snow showers Friday and Saturday, with skies clearing Sunday. During that timeframe, temperatures generally are expected to be in the mid-40s, and by Monday, temperatures should climb into the mid- to upper 50s.

Baron said nighttime low temperatures may get down to just below or above freezing but should not be cold enough so that anyone whose house doesn’t have power, or heat, should worry about their water lines freezing.

Area snow totals from the storm, according to National Weather Service observers, include 12.5 inches in Farmington, 16 in Readfield, and 7 in Anson.

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While the Augusta Civic Center opened as a warming center Thursday, there did not appear to be any shelters on a Maine Emergency Management Agency website listed as open in central Maine for Friday or for the weekend.

MEMA officials, in a press release issued Friday, urged Mainers to use caution cleaning up after the storm.

“Many folks are still without power today and need to be cautious while using alternate sources for heating or cooking,” MEMA Director Peter Rogers said. “Removing snow safely is also a concern.”

The agency advised people removing snow to: Push snow, instead of lifting it; bend with your knees to lift with your legs, not back; avoid power lines when removing snow from roofs; pace yourself; and pick up small amounts at a time. If using a snowblower: turn it off if it jams, keep hands away from moving parts, avoid using it while consuming alcohol, don’t run it in an enclosed space, and don’t refuel a snowblower while it is running.

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