A car makes its way down Garfield Road in Auburn on Saturday afternoon during the first significant snowfall of the season. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Tens of thousands of Mainers were left without power Saturday night as the state’s first major snowstorm of the season swept across the state, dumping several inches of snow on central and western Maine.

The National Weather Service in Gray put a winter storm warning into effect Saturday morning that will remain in effect until 1 p.m. Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, snowfall is expected to accumulate at “1 to 2 inches an hour” with winds “approaching 40 miles per hour” through the night.

Many Mainers were already feeling the impact of the storm late Saturday afternoon.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, more than 23,000 Central Maine Power customers were left without power, including 6,000 customers in central and western Maine. Within an hour, the total number of customers without power jumped to 45,000. By 9 p.m., 170,928 were left in the dark.

Greg Hazzid clears the sidewalks with a snowblower at an apartment complex Saturday afternoon along Minot Avenue in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Meteorologist Michael Cempa said that in the Lewiston/Auburn area, there was a sudden shift from rain to snow around noon on Saturday, the result of a rapid drop in temperature.

Cempa said that from South Paris down into interior York County, “we’ve been getting reports of 1 to 2 inches of snow an hour.”

“That’s pretty fast accumulation,” Cempa said. “We expect everything to stay snow until Sunday, unless you live near the coast.”

While the winter storm warning will remain in effect until 1 p.m. Sunday, Cempa said that he expects “any significant snow to wind down by daybreak on Sunday.”

Katie Whittaker walks in Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Saturday with her 15-month-old daughter, Bia Foster. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“You might see some light snow here and there later Sunday, but it’ll dwindle down pretty quick,” he added.

Auburn Police Sgt. Chad Syphers said Saturday night that there had been a steady flow of accidents throughout the afternoon and evening, but none of them were serious.

“I know a lot of other towns have been inundated with crashes, but it hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary for us,” Syphers said.

Phone calls to the Lewiston and Lisbon police departments were not immediately returned.

Jonathan Giasson waits Saturday at the bus station on Bates Street in Lewiston for a bus to take him back to the Ramada Inn winter wellness shelter. Giasson says the shelter has been helping him get back on his feet, with case workers on site to help participants apply for food stamps and Social Security benefits.The shelter is scheduled to operate through April 30. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A man walks through Dufresne Plaza in Lewiston as Saturday’s storm gains strength. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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