Ice, rain cause outages, flooding

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Thousands of Mainers were without power Tuesday night as ice-laden limbs and lines snapped in a storm that also flooded roads and slicked highways.

The storm dropped up to 3 inches of snow in the mountains, and turned to freezing rain and rain in some areas.

“It was mostly ice,” a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Gray said. Temperatures were expected to get above freezing in the afternoon, but remained low enough to bring freezing rain, the official said.

“The colder weather returns tomorrow, but it will be generally dry,” the meteorologist said, with temperatures rising for the weekend. 

Central Maine Power reported nearly 19,000 customers were without power as of 9:25 p.m. They included 5,584 in Oxford County, 4,300 in Androscoggin County, 2,600 in Cumberland County, 2,107 in Somerset County and 1,162 in Franklin County.

“Crews are working as efficiently and safely as possible to restore (power), according to a statement from the company.

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Lewiston Public Works Director Dave Jones described the the storm as a “pain” because snow continued for 18 hours but did not amount to much. 

“But just enough so you need to do something,” he said. 

Lewiston Detective Sgt. James Theiss said there were a few crashes Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t say it was out of the ordinary. It’s actually been fairly quiet considering the weather,” Theiss said. 

Auburn Police Lt. Scott Watkins said there were three crashes reported Tuesday, none with injuries. 

Route 117 in Buckfield and Turner was down to one lane of traffic Tuesday evening due to downed power lines. 

While Lewiston and Auburn were fairly calm Tuesday, Franklin County officials were dealing with downed branches blocking Zion’s Hill Road in Chesterville and standing water on Depot Street in Wilton. Hippach Field in Farmington was also flooded. 

Slippery and slushy conditions also slowed traffic around southern Maine. 

In Portland, standing water clogged the southbound on ramp to Interstate 295 on Forest Avenue.

And speeds were lowered to 45 mph on the Maine Turnpike on Tuesday.

The Portland Press Herald and Livermore Falls Advertiser Staff Writer Pam Harnden contributed to this report.

Miranda Brown navigates the Bates Street sidewalk Tuesday morning with her children Emonie, 3, and Eliyanna, 5, while running errands in Lewiston during the freezing rain. Brown’s boyfriend, Elijah Blake, had to use the street to push a stroller in which their child, Amariyanna, 1, was riding. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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