Talk about cold irony.
Hockey at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston was postponed Friday night thanks to nasty weather. It was distressing news for 41-year-old John Frechette, who had been called to fill in as goalie in a coed game.
"A winter sport canceled due to winter weather," Frechette grumbled. "I'm going to build a snowman and beat the hell out of it with my hockey stick."
Many others could relate. For most of the day Friday, things were starting to look a lot like January.
An all-day snow fell on most of the state, bringing with it the familiar sounds of snowblowers and tires spinning on slick roads.
The first major storm in several weeks left many motorists baffled. They forgot the lessons of the previous month, and the results were car wrecks and vehicles off roads just about everywhere.
Police said most crashes were minor, inconvenient more than anything else. To the south, where snow mixed with rain, things were more serious.
A North Waterboro man was critically injured when his pickup flipped on the Maine Turnpike in York. Maine State Police said 47-year-old Charles Waddell Jr. lost control of his truck in the southbound lane. It bounced over a guardrail, overturned at least twice and came to rest upright in the northbound lane.
Waddell, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered serious head injuries, police said. He was being treated later in the day at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire.
In Portland, a car slid into the rear of a police cruiser. No one was hurt.
In Auburn, a vehicle flipped on northbound Washington Street at about 4:15 p.m. By the time the first police officer got there, the driver was crawling from the overturned vehicle.
In Livermore, cars collided and a tractor-trailer jackknifed on Route 4 at about 5 p.m., forcing police to close a section of the road while the rig was righted and the road was sanded.
Gov. Paul LePage ordered state offices closed at 3 p.m. to allow state employees time to travel home in daylight. Marden's in Lewiston made it until 5 p.m. before locking up. Since LePage announced he will send state workers home only when the weather is harsh enough to close Marden's, many Mainers keep track of whether he keeps that promise. LePage was the general manager of the discount chain.
The snow fell steadily, pushed by whipping winds. By nightfall, as the snow tapered off, snowfall amounts were weirdly varied. Turner and Waterville reported 12 inches. In Farmington, only 2.5 inches were measured.
Nine inches fell in Lewiston; 10 in Auburn.
If you had to drive in it, the snow was something to grouse about. If you had a ski trip in mind, things were bright.
"Tack on another couple of inches to this afternoon's total," crowed a message on the Sunday River website. "We're sitting on eight inches of snow, boys and girls, and it's still coming down hard! Fun doesn’t even begin to describe today’s conditions. Add in descriptors like, 'deep pow' and 'fluffy white snow' and 'snowflake factory' and you’re still only scratching the surface. Saturday powder day? Count. Me. In."
Central Maine Power Co. reported that heavy snow and high winds caused only scattered outages throughout the day. At midmorning, power outages briefly reached 3,600 accounts in York and Cumberland counties, where the sticky snow fell most heavily. Crews were able to complete most repairs in a matter of hours.
By 4:30 p.m., fewer than 100 homes and businesses were without power. CMP assigned extra crews for the overnight.
According to the National Weather Service, February may have more to say before it gives way to March.
A fast-moving storm is expected to slip by Maine on Sunday, producing snow showers. Then, as March lands on the calendar, a more significant storm may arrive in the middle of the week. It remains to be seen whether it will bring snow or rain.
New Gloucester: 6