RUMFORD – State and municipal plowing and sanding efforts between Rumford and Dixfield easily kept pace with Wednesday’s snowstorm, which couldn’t decide if it wanted to rain, snow or sleet.

So, it did all three – sometimes all at once – but nothing in the first of two storm waves stuck to the road to create treacherous driving conditions as in previous snowstorms this winter.

After the first wave, Eustis led snowfall amounts throughout Maine with 4.3 inches by 4:07 p.m., according to meteorologist Jim Hayes with the National Weather Service in Gray.

The second wave of snow, sleet and freezing rain was expected to arrive by 8 or 9 p.m., he said.

There were few if any accidents and none serious, according to state police and Oxford County dispatchers.

Hayes said that could probably be attributed to NWS winter storm warnings.

“You know, it’s funny. When we put out warnings and advisories, those (accident) numbers tend to go down because people are heeding the message, other than if it were just a couple inches of snow,” he said.

“And, you know, if we didn’t have any headlines because it didn’t appear to warrant it, people may not take it as seriously as they do when they expect more.”

For Maine Department of Transportation regional manager Norman Haggan in Dixfield, Wednesday’s storm was simply routine.

“It’s been a pretty easy storm for us today,” he said late Wednesday afternoon.

“We haven’t got much mixed precip in the region yet and not that much snow, really. I think the hard part will be after dark. I think the big wave of snow will come in after dark. We’re looking at the possibility of it changing over to mixed precipitation after midnight,” he said.

Haggan’s district, which is headquartered in Dixfield, stretches from the Maine-New Hampshire border to Canada, down to Norway and Turner and east to the Skowhegan and Greenville-Moosehead Lake area.

“We like the ones that are mostly during the work day. Of course, it will be a little tougher after dark, but traffic will slow down. Still, it’s a little bit tougher to plow at night. Sometimes you can’t see mailboxes and traffic so well,” Haggan said.

Unlike last winter, there is no shortage of sand or salt.

“We’ve got plenty of material. At the salt shed in Dixfield, the salt was almost out the door. It was pretty near full with it. We’ve got plenty of resources,” he said.

Haggan said he hoped crews had placed enough material atop roads to prevent surfaces from glazing with ice.

His crews will be out all night. However, after 10 p.m., crew numbers will be reduced from full to half.

“If it was a real ice storm, we wouldn’t be able to do that, because you don’t want to take a chance on getting behind. But we will reduce our forces after 10 p.m. to save a few resources and save a few tired horses for morning, so they can get rested,” Haggan said.


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