AUBURN — On the eve of the spring equinox, people throughout New England found themselves digging out of the last storm of winter 2013.
The Inuit people have many words for snow: qanik (falling snow), aputi (snow on the ground) and pukak (crystalline snow on the ground), to name a few. None of these descriptives were on the lips of winter-weary Mainers as Tuesday's storm gained intensity into the evening.
"It sucks," said Lisa Beebe of Auburn. Having just returned home on slippery roads from her job as a nurse in Portland, her bluntness was understandable.
"It's nasty; it just got worse," she said, referring to the sideways, wind-driven snow. The last time Beebe became tired of the weather, she said she found herself moving to Nevada.
Upon further reflection of the late-winter weather, she said with a shrug, "Yeah, but we live in Maine. Get a grip. It's what everybody says this time of year."
According to almanac.com, home of the Old Farmer's Almanac, temps one year ago reached nearly 62 degrees, a far cry from the blowing snow and freezing temps of Tuesday.
As of Tuesday evening, area totals fell below estimates, according to the National Weather Service, with Durham at 6.8 inches; Gray, 6.6; and Otisfield, 5.
It was still snowing hard Tuesday night and another half a foot was expected in the Twin Cities area, but as spring arrives Wednesday morning at 7:02 a.m., the storm will have tapered to showers.
As of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, CMP was reporting 82 customers without power, mostly in York and Oxford counties.
Bobbi-Jo Ricker and Neil Spellman, both of Auburn, dealt with the snow in slightly different ways. "I'm done," Spellman said, shaking his head.
"It's March and it's Maine," Ricker countered, saying, "We didn't get much of a winter last year."
In an apparent moment of consensus, the couple looked at each other and exclaimed, "Wet socks!"
"Constantly drying snow pants with three kids," Spellman added as Ricker nodded emphatically. Both Spellman and Ricker confirmed the added difficulty of clearing the snow from their driveway and the residual snow from active children.
"I don't do real well with the wintertime," Spellman added on a more serious note, pointing to the lack of sunlight, cold and long periods indoors.
"As long as we don't get any snow in April," Ricker added, noting that a few days earlier, she heard birds chirping and the pair had seen their first mosquito.
A group of friends from Auburn had just returned from a trip to New Jersey, driving into the storm.
"It was beautiful when we started," said Chris Spence who has since changed his tone. "It's crazy right now. You make one wrong move, you're sliding into a tree or someone else."
Spence added that he was here for the winter storm of '98 and that learning to drive in Maine makes days like Tuesday easy.
"I love the weather," said Jill Weisman, the only member of the group who remained upbeat.
"I'm not a snow person," said Mack Williams, shaking his head at Weisman.