UPDATED: 5:30 p.m.

A powerful winter storm knocked out power to more than 100,000 homes and businesses Friday, and some could stay that way for days.

More than 48,000 Central Maine Power customers were still without power by nightfall Friday after more than two feet of snow fell on some areas in Maine.

The National Weather Service says it received multiple reports of snow falling at a rate of 6 inches per hour as the storm raged into Friday morning.

Cumberland and Kennebec counties were the hardest hit. More than 26,000 customers were without power in Cumberland and 23,000 in Kennebec.

More than half the outages in Androscoggin County are in Lisbon, where more than 87 percent of customers (3,381 out of 4,453) have no power.

Durham was also hit hard with more than 88 percent of its customers without electricity.

Hundreds of crews, including those from other states and Canada, are working on repairs, CMP said on Twitter this morning. Despite all those workers, some homes and businesses could be without power for a while.

“Due to widespread damage (and) difficult travel, we will not get everyone back up today; the recovery could take multiple days in some areas,” CMP posted on Twitter.

For Auburn residents without power, the city has opened the Hasty Community Center at 48 Pettengill Park Road from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Visitors can use the center to take a shower, get warm or “just get the kids out of the house,” according to the post on Auburn Recreation Department’s Facebook page. 

The storm affected more than just electricity. Driving and parking were also a problem. Lewiston alone saw 16 car crashes, 23 broken down vehicles and 47 parking violations between Thursday morning and 7:20 a.m. Friday. 

In Auburn, plows struggled to keep up. One got stuck repeatedly in the Lake Street area, leaving the roads there unplowed for the second half of the storm. Another city plow struck and badly damaged a utility pole on Stevens Mill Road.

“We did have some trouble, no doubt about it,” said Scott Holland, deputy director of Auburn Public Services. “It was very tough.

Powerful bands of snow clobbered some areas with knee-deep snow while other places just miles away received mostly rain.

The National Weather Service is reporting that 27 inches of snow fell in the town of Oxford, while Rumford received 23 inches and Auburn had 18½ inches.

“It went from just a garden-variety, low-pressure system to a turbocharged storm,” said weather service meteorologist Eric Schwibs.

While that’s bad news for people without power, it’s good news for area ski resorts.

Lost Valley in Auburn is reporting 18 inches of fresh snow and 12 trails now open. Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley is reporting 24 to 30 inches of snow, with 119 trails now open.

Sugarloaf’s website sports a singe word: BURIED.

Skiers will also be happy with Saturday’s forecast. The National Weather Service said the area can expect another 1 to 3 inches of snow Saturday.

For those people who finish digging out and are traveling this holiday, there is a bright spot. The Maine Turnpike Authority will offer free coffee from 10 p.m. New Year’s Even to 5 a.m. New Year’s Day at all five turnpike service plazas in Kennebunk, Gray, Cumberland and West Gardiner. 

Auburn struggles in storm

Many towns struggled to keep up with this week’s snowstorm, but Auburn had some extra trouble.

Lake Street School area streets remained almost completely unplowed Friday morning after the plow used for that route repeatedly ran into trouble during the storm.

“He got stuck two or three times because he’s on a lot of those dead-end streets,” Scott Holland, deputy director of Auburn Public Services, said. “When you get in there like that and you start pushing that snow, you slide off sideways and it doesn’t take much to get stuck, even with chains on. And he did have chains on.”

The department sent two plow trucks to the Lake Street area after the storm Friday. Roads were not expected to be clear there until 3 p.m.

The Lake Street plow wasn’t the only one that ran into trouble. A city plow also hit a utility pole on Stevens Mill Road, damaging the pole so badly that it had to be replaced.

“The truck came off one of the roads and banked to the right. When he went to back up, his wing wasn’t all the way up and his wing hit it,” Holland said. “Unfortunately, that stuff happens.”

The storm also wreaked havoc on the city’s sidewalks, burying them in more than 18 inches of snow. Road plows heaped more on top of that.

“The sidewalk tractors are having trouble, so we’re going to be working on those for the next two or three days probable,” Holland said. “Just bear with us on the sidewalks. We’re going to get to them as soon as we can.”

Snowfall totals

Androscoggin County

Mechanic Falls: 20

Lewiston: 19

Auburn: 18 1/2

Livermore Falls: 18

Durham: 13

Lisbon Falls: 10

Franklin County

Jay: 21

New Sharon: 19

Rangeley: 14

Oxford County

Oxford: 27

South Paris: 23

Otisfield: 20

Hebron 19 1/2

Sumner 16 1/2

Bethel 13 1/2

Source: National Weather Service, Gray


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