RUMFORD — Since Sunday evening, local public works and state transportation crews have been trying to keep up with the first big storm of the season.
It hasn't been easy, because above-freezing temperatures created slippery, sloppy conditions.
Late Tuesday morning, drivers heading west up Morrison Hill on Route 2 in Dixfield and Carthage were dealing with rain and sleet, and snow, sleet and slush on the descent.
Slush that threatened to yank cars off roads built up faster than plows could push it to the roadsides.
An Oxford County dispatcher in Paris said there were several slide-offs on Route 140 on Tuesday morning.
There was a rollover at 12:41 p.m. on Route 232 in Bethel.
Rumford police dispatcher Matt Desroches and Sgt. Douglas Maifeld said Tuesday afternoon that there were 10 accidents and slide-offs since Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning there were eight weather-related accidents that were mostly slide-offs, Maifeld said.
"Most of them were on Route 2 from McDonald's (restaurant) west, because there was more snow than rain there," Maifeld said. "The roads were more slushier, pulling people off the road."
"People were driving too fast for road conditions," Desroches said.
"The speed limit may be 55 mph, but that's not for (winter) road conditions," Maifeld said.
The sergeant said Route 2 conditions were fine east of McDonald's where mostly rain fell on Tuesday.
A Rumford Public Works dispatcher said Tuesday that crews came in Sunday night and left at 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, and returned to work at midnight to continue clearing roads.
Snowfall amounts as of Tuesday morning were 6 inches in Andover and Temple, 5 inches in Bethel, and 4.5 inches in Farmington and Greene, according to a National Weather Service bulletin in Gray.
In Dixfield, Norman Haggan, regional manager for the Maine Department of Transportation, said Tuesday that he hasn't had to close any roads yet.
"The crews are doing real well and the material (applied to the roads) is working," Haggan said.
He said his department has enough spare trucks to plow and treat roads, despite a couple of breakdowns, which is normal.
"The salt seems to be working real good," Haggan said. "This is a real warm storm, so that's what happens; the salt works."
He also said drivers seem to be aware of changing road conditions and are adjusting driving habits accordingly.
"This is just a long event, with some of everything — snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain and ice," he said.
While much of Oxford and Franklin counties are seeing a wintry mix from this first big storm of the season that began Sunday afternoon, Haggan said Rangeley continues to get more snow.
He said he believed that Tuesday was Rangeley's third snow day for schoolchildren.
"You know it's got to be bad for Rangeley to cancel school," Haggan said.