#SJBlizzard

The weather wonks have promised a historic blizzard Tuesday. Does it feel historic to you? Or just cold? We want you to share your observations, experiences and photos with the Sun Journal online. We have many options:

We also will be rounding up news and social media coverage at SunJournal.com/SJBlizzard

UPDATED – 3:24 p.m.

OXFORD — The slot machines have gone quiet at Oxford Casino.

Oxford Casino closed at 2:30 p.m. due to the blizzard that blanketed the state.

“The Maine Department of Transportation has done a great job of clearing the roads, but with the anticipated continued heavy and drifting snow throughout the afternoon and evening we decided it was best to close while there was still plenty of light to allow our guests and team members to return home safely,” said Jack Sours, Oxford Casino President & General Manager.

The casino, nornally open 24/7, is expected to open back up Wednesday at  8:30 a.m., provided roads and conditions are safe for travel.

UPDATED – 2:35 p.m. A look at some snowfall totals across the Northeast on Tuesday afternoon after a massive winter storm:

CONNECTICUT

Moosup: 25 inches

Waterford: 23 inches

Hampton: 22.5 inches

MAINE

Lewiston: 21.5 inches

South Windham: 18 inches

Portland: 16 inches

MASSACHUSETTS

Framingham: 30 inches

Lunenburg: 30 inches

Westford: 30 inches

Boston: 20.8 inches

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Windham: 22.1 inches

Hudson: 21.5 inches

NEW JERSEY

Brick: 10 inches

North Hudson: 8.1 inches

NEW YORK

Orient in Suffolk County: 28.5 inches

Massapequa in Nassau County: 17.8 inches

LaGuardia Airport: 11 inches

Central Park: 7.8 inches

PENNSYLVANIA

Washington Crossing: 5 inches

Philadelphia: 1.2 inches

RHODE ISLAND

Burrillville: 23 inches

West Glocester: 21.8 inches

Providence: 11 inches

Source: National Weather Service

UPDATED – 1:15 p.m. NEWRY — The blizzard isn’t deterring skiers and snowboarders from taking to the slopes at Sunday River Ski Resort.

“We’re busier than we anticipated,” spokeswoman Sarah Devlin said by email early Tuesday afternoon. “The snow hit us early this morning and we’re just getting the thick band that’s crawling north.”

She said that by noon the resort had close to five inches and is running all scheduled lifts. “It’s coming down hard.”

Devlin said she suspects that many people drove to Sunday River on Monday to ski and board in their “Happy Place” during what’s being billed as a historic winter storm that shut down New England.

“And to say people are in their Happy Place during Blizzard Juno is an understatement,” she said. “The trails are full of people hooting and hollering.”

Thanks to the storm, Devlin said the resort opened its new glade, YetiVille, for the first time. Additionally, North Woods just opened for the first time this season.

“We’ll be really set up after this blizzard to open most, if not all, our terrain,” she said.

“With the next storm in the forecast for this weekend, we’ll be open all the way.”

UPDATED – 12:58 P.M.

RUMFORD — While a majority of the businesses on Congress Street in downtown Rumford opted to close their doors in lieu of the blizzard sweeping across the state, John Soucy, owner of Carlisle’s Apparel, said that he has too much to catch up on to warrant closing his doors.

“I mean, I’ve got to be here anyway,” Soucy said with a laugh. “I have plenty of things to do at the store, and usually, unless there’s extenuating circumstances, I’ll stay open during a snowstorm.”

Soucy said that a few of the banks on Congress Street called him Monday to inform him they’d be closed Tuesday.

“I know that it’s hazardous for people to be driving,” Soucy said. “It’s been very quiet this morning on Congress Street, but I’m sure later, once the storm quiets a bit, I’ll get a few locals visiting.”

Davis’ Florist, located up the street from Carlisle’s, posted on its Facebook page that they were “taking a snow day,” while several businesses, such as Stanley’s Furniture, Ink Plaza and Bartash’s Card and Gift, closed for the day.

UPDATED – 12:54 p.m.

OXFORD — The Oxford Casino, which is open 24/7, remained open Tuesday with a limited crew, table games and food service. A security employee said only a few people were in the facility and those were people who chose to stay throughout the night playing the table games.

At Hannafords in Oxford employees reported a dozen or so people had braved the storm to get to the store.

“We don’t want people out on the road right now but we’re open in case of an emergency,” said Hannaford manager Mike Labbe, who drove in from Lewiston at 6:30 Tuesday morning.

UPDATED – 12:47 p.m.

Central Maine was “weathering the storm” in good order, according to Joanne Potvin, the director of Androscoggin County’s Emergency Management Agency.

In a short update Potvin said residents around the region were heeding the warning of public safety and staying indoors and off the roads and highways. 

“It’s a snowstorm in Maine,” Potvin said with a somewhat relieved laugh. “Actually we are not doing too, too bad.”

Potvin said the latest update from the National Weather Service had Lewiston-Auburn still on track for between 14 and 18 inches of new snow. But as of 12 p.m. Lewiston was already reporting 14.5 inches so Potvin guessed the Twin Cities would see closer to 18 to 20 inches by the end of the day.  Other than a scattering of power outages Potvin said local Emergency Management Agency directors were reporting, “no major problems.”

She said none of the various emergency shelters or warming centers had been opened as demand did not warrant it.

“So it looks like other than towns being closed it’s business as usual,” Potvin said. “People are staying put, they are heeding the advice of public safety and we’ve had no requests for assistance from any of my EMA directors or public safety throughout the county.”

UPDATED – 12:04 p.m.

PORTLAND — Snow is topping 15 inches in parts of southern Maine and is expected to reach 2 feet in others as winds of up to 60 mph lash coastal parts of the state, according to the Associated Press.

Meteorologists for the National Weather Service in Gray say the high total late Tuesday morning was 15.9 inches in Portland. Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph are common in coastal areas, with Bar Harbor reaching 60 mph. Meteorologists said the storm is beginning to weaken, but steady snow would continue through the afternoon. Northern Maine is also getting high winds and is beginning to get heavy snow, but will likely top out around 10 inches.

Blizzard warnings remain in effect for coastal parts of the state. Lewiston, Rockport and Yarmouth all report snow totals above 10 inches.

UPDATED – 11:20 a.m.

DIXFIELD — Police Chief Richard Pickett said that Dixfield was “fairly quiet right now,” though he believes “the worst is yet to come.”

“We went out earlier and measured the snow along the roads, and I’d say we have about 3 to 5 inches right now,” Pickett said. “Of course, the wind is blowing most of it around, so it’s hard to tell for sure.”

There have been no car accidents as of 10:30 a.m., Pickett said, though several cars have found it difficult to drive up the steep hills.

Pickett said that he and his officers had traveled from East Dixfield to Canton Point Road and found that there were “only one or two cars on the road.”

“For this early in the morning, that’s unheard of, so it’s nice to see that people are listening to our advice,” Pickett said. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that everything has closed. People don’t have a reason to go outside right now, so they’re staying put.”

Pickett said that if the storm “follows the same track as that it did in Massachusetts, the worst of the storm will hit in a few hours.”

“Originally, I was hearing that the snow was supposed to start around 1 a.m., but it didn’t hit until 6 a.m.,” Pickett said. “I think if the storm follows what’s been predicted, it’s going to start getting really intense in the River Valley area in a few hours.”

UPDATED – 11:08 a.m.

AUBURN — The director of the Auburn-Lewiston Airport reported that wind speed is averaging 42 mph as blizzard Juno storms through the state.

Rick Lanman said gusts were higher and sustained speeds were slower, prompting the 42 mph average.

Lanman said the airport was technically open for business, but that no flights were expected today and that only maintenance staff were called in to get ahead on work.

Given the current forecast, Lanman said the airport is expected to be fully operational at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, when flights are expected to resume.

UPDATED – 10:49 a.m.

PORTLAND — Officials in Maine’s largest city are requesting that residents remain off the streets during the duration of the blizzard that is shutting down much of the state, according to the Associated Press.

Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin says the city is urging residents to remain home Tuesday and limit travel to only essential trips. The city is also enforcing a parking ban until 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

City officials say heavy snow and wind are making travel dangerous and visibility extremely poor during the storm. More than 40 plowing crews are currently digging the city out of the storm. Portland Fire Chief Jerry LaMoria says residents staying off the streets is “making it much easier” for the city to respond to the storm.

City officials say normal city services are likely to resume on Wednesday.

UPDATED – 10:23 a.m.

OXFORD — Police and fire departments in Norway, Paris and Oxford along with Oxford County dispatch reported no problems this morning.

In Oxford, Walmart and Hannaford remained open, but police say they saw maybe one customer there at most.

Oxford Walmart Manager Melanie Wright said there has been a few customers at Walmart this morning despite the storm just doing their “regular” shopping.

“It’s a normal day in the neighborhood, just a whiteout,” she said.

Wright, who drove in from Harrison early this morning said she had no problem driving because the snow didn’t start until 6 a.m. She said employees were told to stay home unless they felt safe coming into work. About 30 or 40 employees called out and 10 were able to get to work.

The store will remain open regular hours today until midnight.

UPDATED – 10:20 a.m.

Both Wilton and Farmington police are reporting everything is quiet so far in these towns. No accidents have occurred in the four hours since snow started here, Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox said.

Snow began at approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday.

At this point, police officers on the roads are struggling to keep windshield wipers from freezing, Deputy Chief Shane Cote of Farmington Police Department said.

When Maynard Webster of New Sharon, an observer for the National Weather Service in Gray, made his daily 7 a.m. report Tuesday, he noted just a trace of snow had fallen by then. The trace is being blown around by the wind, making it difficult to measure.

It was only 7 degrees in New Sharon, he said. Throughout the day he will continue watching for wind and thunderstorms, as predicted, for tomorrow’s report.

UPDATED – 10:15 a.m.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat . . .” well, maybe lots of snow.

The U.S. Postal Service has cancelled deliveries and closed post offices in most of Maine on Tuesday due to “dangerous weather conditions,” according to a spokeswoman.

The only area of Maine that might see service is northern Maine with zip codes starting in “047,” Melissa Lohnes said. That may change if conditions get too bad.

The postal service is asking homeowners and businesses to shovel out once the snow stops so carriers can safely get back to the mail on Wednesday.

By the way, the “neither” motto is only unofficial, according to USPS. It’s engraved above the entrance at the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue as a tribute to carriers, but the quote comes from “The Persian Wars” by Herodotus.

UPDATED – 9:57 a.m.

Mexico police Chief Roy Hodsdon said that the storm was in “full-force” and that visibility was “close to zero.”

“I was on Route 2 earlier this morning, and you could barely see the cars in the opposite lane coming towards you,” Hodsdon said. “We did have one small accident where a car slid into a guard rail, but he drove away before we could get to the scene.”

Hodsdon said that he was urging cars to stay off the road until tomorrow morning.

“We’ve already posted a message on our Facebook page letting people know it’s dangerous to be out right now,” Hodsdon said. “We’ve all seen what the storm looks from the news reports in Massachusetts. Right now, we’re the ones behind the eight ball.”

Hodsdon said that the town’s Public Works crews had been treating the roads all morning, but it’s been “difficult to keep up with the storm.”

“I know that the crews are doing their best right now, but I’ve been hearing some tractor trailers are still having trouble getting up the hills in Dixfield,” Hodsdon said.

Menawhile, local fire departments in the Oxford Hills region report that there have been no major incidents as residents apparently heed warnings to stay clear of the roads.

A warming station has been established at the Paris Fire Department.

UPDATED – 9:50 a.m.

LEWISTON — Central Maine Power is reporting that 109 homes in Androscoggin County are without power.

Lewiton had the most outages with 95 customers without power. The hardest hit areas were in the Ferry and Dyer roads area.

A total of 11 homes in Durham amd three in Leeds were also without power.

Franklin and Oxford counties were reporting no outages at 9:43 a.m.

UPDATED – 9:32 a.m.

JAY — Tuesday’s winter storm slowly made its way into Franklin County.

“So far so good,” Franklin County dispatcher Bill Hoyt said of storm happenings at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Livermore Falls had a vehicle slide off the road but it was gone when police arrived, Livermore Falls Sgt. Vernon Stevens said.

POSTED – 8:03 a.m.

LEWISTON — Residents of Lewiston and Auburn remained largely tucked in early Tuesday as gusting winds and heavy snow from winter storm Juno blew into the cities.

There were only a handful of people, either walking their dogs, or making their way carefully to work, but for the most part the streets were vacant as schools were closed and local and state governments were operating only essential services.

Public works crews were just starting to clear streets and roads shortly after 7 a.m., but visibility remained a limiting factor for drivers.

Early Tuesday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage declared a state of emergency, urging people to stay home.

“The amount of snow and the high winds, along with blowing and drifting snow, makes this storm dangerous for many Mainers,” LePage said in a prepared statement.“We want everyone to stay off the roads and stay safe.”

With temperatures in in the single digits and wind chills at about -15 degrees, a blizzard warning was expected to remain in effect throughout the day.

The National Weather Service in Gray was predicting snow would continue well into the late afternoon and evening and was not expected to taper off until some time early Wednesday.

As of about 8:20 a.m. Central Maine Power was reporting less than 100 customers without power, with the largest concentration of 32 in Franklin County.

Lynnell Whitemon was among the few who were working Tuesday. Whitmon was struggling against the blowing snow on Lisbon Street as he shovelled the drifting snow from in front of Labor Ready.

Also among the few, besides police and public works, was Kevin Cooper, a Blake Street resident who was taking his dog, Buddy, for a walk.

“I want to do it early, before the snow really starts to pile up,” Cooper said.


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