An employee of Lucas Tree Experts examines a tree branch that fell across wires along the Buckfield Road in Turner on Friday. The road was down to one lane while crews worked on removing the limb. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

A snowman begins to lean during a heavy snow Friday morning along Skillings Corner Road in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Lucie Washburn walks her dog, Meadow, down East Hebron Road in Turner Friday morning. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A crew from Lucas Tree Experts remove a large tree from utility lines on Buckfield Road (Route 117) between Route 4 and Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner around Friday noon. Power in the area and many other locations throughout the state was out due to a heavy and wet snow that blanketed most of the state overnight. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Nearly 200,000 CMP customers were without power Friday morning after a storm dumped several inches of heavy, wet snow through much of the region overnight and into the morning.

That number was whittled down to 182,000 by nightfall, but getting people back online was proving to be a slow process.

With CMP workers forced to keep their distance from each other in the wake of COVID-19, CMP said it will likely take more than a day to get power restored to everyone. CMP had 100 internal crews and more than 130 contractors and crews from its sister companies working to restore power after the storm and said it hoped to add more.

“We understand that people are working and learning from home and we will work constantly and safely to restore their power,” CMP spokeswoman Catharine Hartnett said. “We are practicing  social distancing in the field to protect our employees and contractors. This means traveling to work sites in several vehicles and always being aware of proximity to others in the field.  This takes a little more thought and care than in ‘normal’ times while in the field.”

Kenny Foster and his 11-year-old son, Hunter, walk up North Hill Road in Buckfield on Friday morning. Foster said they made the four-mile walk to go to the store, which was closed because of a power outage. Foster said his home had no power either. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Hartnett said the power company is working with local emergency management officials on local priorities for clearing roads of downed wires and trees. In some northern area towns, such as Dover, Skowhegan and Farmington, many of the roads were not yet plowed as of 8:30 a.m. Friday, according to CMP.

“With the pandemic we must prioritize access to hospitals and medical facilities as well as food distribution sites,” she said. “Of course restoring power to these facilities is also a priority and all hospitals in our service areas currently have power.”

Just under 200,000 customers remained without power at 11 a.m. Friday, the peak number of CMP outages for this storm. Outages were spread evenly across most counties, with the exception of York County, which saw very few. Androscoggin County had just under 20,000 outages. Franklin County had just under 16,000 and Oxford County had about 12,000. CMP said it could not provide customers with specific restoration times Friday morning.

Most towns got several inches of snow — an unusual amount for an April storm, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

Russ Neal clears his driveway of snow in Monmouth on Friday morning. “We are one of the lucky ones with power,” he said. He lost it but it was restored about 4 a.m. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“To get some of these totals is a little bit more uncommon, especially in coastal areas,” meteorologist Hunter Tubbs said.

The storm had been expected to drop most snow in northern Maine. Instead, the storm, which included bands of intense snow, spread across most of the state.

By Friday morning, Hartford had 14 inches, Peru had 10.8 inches, Farmington had 9 inches, Lewiston had 8.5 inches and Bethel had 7.5 inches. Snow continued in some areas through the morning.

The heavy snow was expected to end for most places Friday morning, replaced by scattered rain and snow showers, though another couple of inches of snow were expected for the Rangeley area. All towns could face another challenge in the evening: 30 mph winds.

“It’s possible there could be a few more outages,” Tubbs said.

The door of an old outhouse on the Ridge Road in Wales stands out in the fresh snow on Friday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

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