LEWISTON – A snow-heavy storm Monday forced schools to close and reminded Mainers what winter is like.

The first snowstorm of the season struck from New York to Maine. It stuck around all day, and lingered into the night.

“We were looking to get another 3 to 6 inches overnight,” said Tom Hawley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Gray office.

The storm also caused municipal offices to close by the afternoon and canceled church groups, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and classes throughout Maine Monday night.

In Auburn, it forced the city to reschedule the swearing-in ceremony for city councilors, School Committee members and the mayor – all elected in November. The inauguration was rescheduled to 6:30 p.m. today at Central Maine Community College’s Kirk Hall.

AAA Northern New England reported a steady volume of calls from motorists who encountered problems as the storm bore down on the state. Within an hour, about 180 calls – about twice the usual number – had come in to the Portland office, said AAA’s Matt McKenzie.

The bulk of those calls were from motorists who needed to be pulled back onto the road, he said. While the snow was a major inconvenience for some, it was a blessing for others.

“It’s snowing so hard you can hardly keep your eyes open,” said Bill Swain, spokesman for Sugarloaf/USA ski area in Carrabassett Valley. “It’s really perfect timing.”

Just after dark, a teenager snowboarding along power lines near College Street in Lewiston suffered a leg injury when he fell from his board.

In Auburn, crews went to Goff Hill to treat the road when motorists began having trouble driving up the sharp incline.

County and local police spent the day responding to reports of car crashes just about everywhere. Most were minor and involved cars sliding off roads, into buildings or into each other, police said.

In Lewiston at about 4:15 p.m., police responded to a report that a car slid into a house on Montello Street. Nobody was hurt.

At about 6 p.m., a man lost control of his car and slid into a stop sign and a restaurant on Lincoln Street. He was examined at the scene.

By the time the commuter hour was over, police said the number of crashes had dropped dramatically.

“Usually during the first storm, we have a lot more accidents,” said Lewiston police Sgt. Danny LaChance. “I was surprised at how few there were. People seem to be using good judgment.”

Hawley said the state can expect snow to back off until late Wednesday, when another snowstorm rolls in.

“But it’s much smaller,” Hawley said. “We’re expecting about an inch or less overnight Wednesday or early Thursday. The remainder of the week will stay cold, but it should warm up later in the weekend.”

Forecasters were calling for more precipitation by Sunday – probably in the form of rain.

“We’re expecting it to be quite a bit milder by Sunday, and if it warms up enough we’ll get rain,” he said.

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