PULL QUOTE: “It went from just a garden-variety, low-pressure system to a turbocharged storm,” National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schwibs said.

Ready to do it all over again?

With up to 2 feet of fresh snow already on the ground, forecasters are warning of another storm expected to arrive Saturday night. This one is forecast to drop 1 to 3 inches, which should feel like next to nothing for those embattled Mainers who survived Winter Storm Fortis.

The powerful winter storm knocked out power to more than 100,000 homes and businesses across the state and by Friday night, nearly 40,000 of them were still in the dark.

Some of those outages could last for days, officials cautioned.

“We will get a good start on the restoration today,” Central Maine Power Spokeswoman Gail Rice said Thursday morning. “But with poor travel conditions and deep snow along the roadsides, we expect it could take several days to complete the restoration.”

It was a storm that was at its most impressive after the majority of people had gone to bed for the night — the National Weather Service said it received multiple reports of snow falling at a rate of 6 inches per hour late Thursday night and early Friday.

The town of Oxford in particular witnessed the overnight intensity of the storm. Although only a few inches were reported there Thursday night, by Friday morning, the town had a recorded 27 inches of snow to contend with.

In Cumberland County, Standish and Naples each recorded 27 inches as well. Starks in Somerset County also received 27 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

At times, the snow mixed with rain in some areas, which is known to be troublesome for power lines. Trees limbs toppled under the weight, power officials said, and many took lines down with them.

Cumberland and Kennebec counties were the hardest hit where outages were concerned. At the peak of it, more than 26,000 customers were without power in Cumberland and 23,000 in Kennebec.

By Friday night, those numbers had been dropped to 13,000 and 12,000, respectively.

In Androscoggin County, just under 4,000 CMP customers were still without power Friday night, and nearly all of those outages were in Durham and Lisbon.

In nearby Pownal, trees were down in several areas and power was out across a wide swath. The loss of power there may have played a role in the death of a man who perished in an early-morning house fire. The State Fire Marshal’s Office said 65-year-old Barry Cain may have been using an alternative form of heat when his Elmwood Lane home went up in flames at about 1 a.m.

Some Pownal residents were told it may be Sunday before their power comes back on.

CMP said a team of more than 1,200 field and support personnel are engaged in the restoration in advance of the New Year’s holiday weekend. The field effort includes roughly 100 CMP line crews assisted by nearly 190 contract crews for line repair and 130 tree crews from the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, as well as from Maine, Connecticut and New York.

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.

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

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

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

Sugarloaf’s website sported a single word: BURIED.

For those people who finished digging out in time to travel for the holiday, there is a bright spot. The Maine Turnpike Authority will offer free coffee from 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 5 a.m. New Year’s Day at all service plazas: Kennebunk, Gray, Cumberland and West Gardiner.

The Saturday night storm is expected to roll in after 5 p.m., drop a measly 1 to 3 inches and depart in time for clear weather on New Year’s Day.

Auburn: ‘Stuff happens’ 

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,” said Scott Holland, deputy director of Auburn Public Services. “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.”

ANDROSCOGGIN COUNTY

Minot, 20

Mechanic Falls, 20

Lewiston, 19

Turner, 18.5

Auburn, 18.5

Poland, 18.5

Livermore Falls, 18

Greene, 17.5

Durham, 13

Lisbon Falls, 10

CUMBERLAND COUNTY

Naples, 27

Casco, 22

Bridgton, 22

Harrison, 19.5

New Gloucester, 18

Gray, 16.5

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Carrabassett Valley, 24

Jay, 21

New Sharon, 21

Wilton, 20

Temple, 20

Chesterville, 19

Rangeley, 14

KENNEBEC COUNTY

Fayette, 21

Winthrop, 20

Mount Vernon, 18.3

Winthrop, 16.5

OXFORD COUNTY

Oxford, 27

South Paris, 23

Rumford, 23

Peru, 22

Otisfield, 20

Paris, 20

Hebron, 19.5

Bethel, 19

Hartford, 18.8

West Paris, 18

Bryant Pond, 17

Sumner, 16.5

Andover, 15

Bethel, 13.7

Source: National Weather Service office, Gray


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