LEWISTON — Thursday was so cold and snowy, mail carrier Benjamin Skibitsky spent most of the day with icicles hanging off his mustache and beard.

He had to stomp through deep snow, lean into fierce wind and pretty much battle for every inch of ground along his route.

Was Skibitsky complaining? No, sir. He was not.

“The good thing about days like today is people stay home and off the roads,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Walking around is a chore, but in this light fluffy stuff, it’s bearable. I’ll take light snow and 20 degrees over 35 and rain any day. I may look like Yukon Cornelius, but I’m getting the job done.”

Technician Rebecca Westleigh of Lewiston was having so much fun working the lines for FairPoint Communications that she posted photos of herself on Facebook and reported that it felt like she was getting paid to play in the snow.

There’s a lesson to be found here: If you couldn’t enjoy it or at least find a bright side, Thursday’s storm could easily crush your spirit.

Before noon, snow was falling at a rate of up to 3 inches per hour in some areas. By lunchtime, more than half a foot was on the ground and there was no sign it would let up anytime soon.

Coming just two days after a storm dropped several inches of snow and rain on the region, Thursday’s nor’easter felt especially punishing to those who had just finished digging out.

“I’m tired of shoveling the same walkway over and over and over,” said Betsy Way of Hartford.

Just about everything, from schools to government offices and plenty of private businesses, were closed for the day. That meant fewer people on the roads, police said, which helped keep the number of crashes and disabled vehicles lower than it might have been otherwise.

The road conditions were treacherous throughout the day, no matter how hard town and city crews tried to stay on top of the storm. Speed limits were dropped on the Maine Turnpike. On in-town streets and roads, that measure wasn’t required: Those who were out driving tended to creep along at low speeds because of sloppy roads and whiteout conditions.

If you had places to be, you had to brush off your car every time you used it, even if only minutes had passed since you last cleared it off. And to add to the fun, the snow turned wet later in the day, so those windshields had to be scraped, as well.

And it was cold. In Lewiston and most surrounding areas, the temperature never made it to 20 degrees, which meant cold hands and numb feet while you were shoveling the driveway for the second or third or fourth time.

By 6 p.m., Lewiston had more than 10 inches on the ground, as did Sabattus, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. Roughly 8 inches fell on surrounding towns while in Oxford County, most towns reported about 6 inches by the supper hour.

And it was still coming.

As Skibitsky the mailman observed, this was a light and fluffy snow, which was no doubt a relief to Central Maine Power crews across the state. Light snow isn’t as apt to bring down power lines. Throughout the day, only small numbers of outages were reported. By 7:30 p.m., fewer than 100 households were without power, the bulk of the outages reported in Kennebec County.

At grocery stores, workers reported that it was a mad rush early in the day for the usual supplies of water, bread, toilet paper, batteries and milk. By late afternoon and into the evening, the stores were mostly quiet.

The snow started tapering off to flurries late Thursday night. It was expected to end before midnight. Time to rest up and await the coming of spring?


More snow is in the forecast for the next three days, including an even bigger storm system the National Weather Service says will bring heavy snow into the region Sunday night and into Monday.

“Rain, snow, or sun, you name it, we walk through it” said Karen Gaudet as her dog Roxy, leads her through Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon during the height of the snowstorm. “It’s been pretty good so far, so I figured we’d get hit pretty hard in February,” she quipped as she continued on to Chestnut Street on her way home.

Wally Mohamed of Lewiston trudges through the snow on Chestnut Street in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon on his way to the store.

A car gets hooked up to a Moon Recoveries tow truck on Montello Street in Lewiston on Thursday morning. The snowstorm resulted in a steady stream of cars sliding off roads and into snowbanks.

Austin Darling rides his bike through Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon. “I always ride in this kind of weather,” Darling said. “I love this stuff!”

Mail carrier Ben Skibitsky delivers on his Lewiston route Thursday morning.

Rebecca Westleigh of Lewiston works the lines for FairPoint Communications during Thursday’s storm.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: