LEWISTON — “Snowmageddon” over the weekend turned out to be less apocalyptic than anticipated.

Navigating through downtown Lewiston wasn’t a problem Sunday afternoon as plows cleared the streets so pedestrians and vehicles of all sizes could navigate. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Early forecasts had a whopping 12 to 18 inches — or more — of snow blanketing Lewiston and Auburn, but snowfall totals in some areas were only 8 or 9 inches by the time the storm subsided Sunday evening.

Chris Kimble, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the storm was the product of an arctic air mass that slammed the region as a low-pressure system also arrived on the East Coast, pulling warm air into the mix and fueling a major winter “event.”

However,  a warm air mass that moved over West Virginia and Maryland on Sunday turned the snow to sleet.

“Warm air moved in above ground level and caused the snow to change to sleet,” Kimble said, “and that (sleet) doesn’t accumulate as readily as snow does.”

Despite the storm’s reduced intensity, it still brought the most snowfall seen this winter. Kimble said an observer in Durham recorded 6 inches between November 20 and November 22, meaning this weekend’s storm now owns this winter’s accumulation crown — for now.

“If we do get 8 or 9 inches, it will be the biggest,” Kimble said.

Sgt. Wayne Clifford of the Lewiston Police Department said as of 6 p.m. Sunday, the department had not responded to a single accident the entire day. However, the department did tow 38 automobiles that violated a parking ban issued in place from midnight Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday.

Thomas Larrabee looks out of his sidewalk plow over a massive snowbank on Main Street in Lewiston during Sunday’s Nor’Easter. He works for Spruce Bay Farm & Landscaping who was hired by CMMC. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

According to Auburn Deputy Chief of Police Tim Cougle, there were four accidents in Auburn on Sunday, none causing serious injury. Four cars were towed.

The Maine Turnpike was operating under a reduced speed limit — 45 mph — Sunday and also reported no

serious accidents.

“We don’t have a whole lot of people out there. We have had no crashes so far. People are staying home, ” said Shira Andersen, communications specialist for the Maine Turnpike Authority.

As of Sunday night, power outages were also not much of an issue. Only three customers in Franklin County and one in York County, for example, were without power, according to a Central Maine Power outage list.

When Carl Sanborn, back right, showed up to plow a client’s driveway during Sunday afternoon’s Nor’Easter on Turner Street in Auburn, Maine he found a resident stuck. With the help of the drivers’ friend, Jed Brown, second from right, they got the unidentified driver on her way and made room for Sanborn to get on with plowing on January 20, 2019. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Deb Masselli Clarke, a dispatch operator for Lewiston Public Works, said winter storms tend to keep her co-workers extremely busy.

“The phones are always calling for residents who require their streets to be sanded and plowed, signs down, mailboxes down,” Clarke said.

A young boy is tossed into a snowbank and kept coming back for more on Walnut Street in Lewiston Sunday afternoon during the weekend Nor’Easter. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

“We just had a medical emergency, and we had to go to the street and plow it so United Ambulance could get through.”

Clarke said sanding trucks were deployed around 7 p.m. Saturday, and the plows came in around 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It’s pretty busy, and everyone here takes care of each other,” Clarke said.

She said her daughter, Tatum Reynolds, made hundreds of baked goods for Public Works employees in anticipation for the storm.

“I never in a million years thought she would make as many as she did,” Clarke said, adding the plow drivers and other employees appreciated the goodies.

Kusow Aden, left, adjusts his hood as he and friend Bashir Matan fight the wind as they head up Bartlett Street in Lewiston to help another friend shovel out after they just finished shoveling Tree Street Youth Center on Howe Street Sunday afternoon during the weekend Nor’Easter. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

“It was a nice little treat for them,” Clarke said. “They work tirelessly. They work long hours. They have to listen residential complaints, and it’s not often they get a pat on the pack for all the work they do.”

Although shoveling, defrosting and clearing snow are not high on most people’s lists of favorite things to do, Lost Valley ski area owner Scott Shanaman heralded the snow.

Lost Valley has been making snow for most of the season, an expensive process. Shanaman said Lost Valley welcomes the arrival of fresh powder brought by the first significant snowfall of the skiing season.

“It’s a huge help to us,” Shanaman said.

Shanaman said the natural powder will help set the stage for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, a national holiday and traditionally a busy day for Lost Valley.

“People were hunkered down at home today, and the kids are out of school tomorrow,” Shanaman said. “They’ll have enough of having the kids home for the day, and they’ll want to get outside and do something with them.”

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