At the ski area, they were dancing for joy, and on the roads drivers were taking it slow, but midway through a snowstorm that began on New Year’s Eve, most Mainers were hunkered down on Saturday.

Less than 7 inches of snow had fallen across much of western Maine by early Saturday afternoon.

However, by Sunday afternoon when the storm is expected to taper off into snow showers, many Mainers can expect to find an additional foot of snow in their yards, Tom Hawley, a National Weather Service meteorologist said early Saturday evening.

“Total accumulations are going to be a foot or more in most of western Maine, except for portions of York County,” Hawley said. “They may see a little bit less than that.”

“The farther north and east you go, the heavier the snow, so the heaviest will be like Bangor east, where they may see up to 20 inches or more,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to measure because it’s going to be blowing so hard.”

For the most part, drivers were staying off the roads Saturday. However, emergency responders in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties responded to numerous slide-offs and a few rollovers, but no serious accidents, county and state police dispatchers said.

“We have a lot of vehicles off the road, but no damage to them,” Thomas Marble, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher, said at 1:45 p.m. as light snow continued to fall.

Efforts in Mexico late Saturday morning to pull a pickup truck out of a ditch and back onto Route 2 reduced traffic to one lane, backing up westbound cars and trucks into Dixfield. The westbound lane was so slippery and slushy that a tow truck couldn’t get any traction to free the stuck truck.

Temple topped the National Weather Service snow charts for the tri-county area, registering 6.6 inches as of 6 a.m. on Saturday. New Sharon followed an hour later with nearly 6 inches, and Auburn had 5.4 inches.

Auburn and Lewiston each issued emergency parking bans, keeping parked cars off the streets to make room for plows. Auburn’s ban ends at 8 a.m. Sunday. Lewiston extends until 7 a.m. Monday.

Despite slippery roads, police officers in both cities said there had been no serious accidents. In Auburn, there were several fender benders, including a a plow truck that hit a guide pole.

In Lewiston, Sgt. Brian O’Malley had seen nothing severe, but he hoped drivers would stay off the roads as the storm worsened after dark.

Saturday’s winter storm warning wasn’t expected to get upgraded into a blizzard warning, Hawley said.

“Our blizzard criteria has a wind and visibility criteria, and we need to have visibilities down to a quarter of a mile or less for at least four hours, and we just don’t think that’s going to occur,” he said.

By 2:15 p.m., the wind had picked up in Rumford, blowing falling snow horizontally.

Cindy Decker, ticket office manager at Black Mountain Ski Resort in Rumford, said officials there are “really happy” with the snow they’re getting.

“We’re all doing our happy snow dance,” Decker said.  “Hopefully, this will help us open up everything. We’ve just been running with limited trails.”

The resort opened for the season on Dec. 26, offering just two trails to less than 100 skiers and snowboarders. Pouring rain hit the next day.

On Saturday, skiers and riders came out in force, giving the resort a “good day,” Decker said.

Still, like any winter enthusiast, they’d like more snow.

“We’re hoping for the big nor’easter, with about 20 inches,” she said. “We’ll take anything we can get.”

Staff writers Terry Karkos and Daniel Hartill contributed to this report.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal
Dave Cyr of Lewiston
clears the sidewalks around St. Louis Church in New Auburn on Saturday. Cyr had
four Catholic churches to dig out and was getting St. Louis ready for the 4 p.m. Mass. Cyr said he would be back out at 3 a.m. on Sunday to clear the way for the
7:30 a.m. mass.  

“This time next week, I will be in Florida,” said Donald Fyfe as he cleared his driveway on Gillander Avenue in Auburn on Saturday. Fyfe and his wife Lorielie will head south next week.

Lilian Taylor, 3, left, and her sister Naomi, 6, make snow angels at their home on Loring Avenue in Auburn on Saturday. Naomi Taylor is a first-grader at Sherwood Heights Elementary School.

Dave Cyr of Lewiston clears the sidewalks around St. Louis Church in New Auburn on Saturday. Cyr had four Catholic churches to dig out and was getting St. Louis ready for the 4 p.m. Mass. Cyr said he would be back out at 3 a.m. on Sunday to clear the way for the 7:30 a.m. Mass.


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