An icy storm slammed Bates College campus along with much of the rest of the region. Bates College photo

The Sun Journal’s headlines tell the story of the Ice Storm of 1998.

January 8: Maine ices over

January 9: Maine an icy mess

January 10: Surviving the storm

January 11: Still feeling powerless

January 12: Frustration growing


What started as a light, icy drizzle turned into a 20-day federally declared disaster after a couple of inches of ice covered much of central and southern Maine, knocking out power and creating havoc for electrical infrastructure.

By the time it was over, several thousand poles had been replaced by lineman and tree trimmers who poured into the state from across the country to lend a hand in the aftermath of the storm, rushing to restore heat and power as quickly as possible.

Five days into the storm, nearly 30,000 homes in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area remained without power.

Though authorities issued a stream of advisories warning people of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from improperly vented generators and indoor fires, at least a few hundred people required medical help from breathing the dangerous, odorless fumes. At least two died.

Most schools, including the ones in Lewiston and Auburn, were closed for more than a week while the power was out.

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