Tens of thousands of electric customers across Maine were still without power Sunday night, a day after a powerful storm covered much of the state in snow and ice.

The early-spring snowstorm Saturday – and the ice that came with it – brought down trees and power lines in all 16 counties. Some areas of the state recorded over 20 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Bryant Pond was blanketed in 25 inches of snow. Rumford got 24.5 inches, and Rockwood, 22 inches. Some York County communities got up to a foot of snow.

Portland saw less snow – just over 6 inches – but the rain, freezing rain and sleet that followed on Saturday evening blanketed much of the city in a layer of ice.

Central Maine Power spokesperson Jonathan Breed said power outages peaked at 198,745 CMP customers during the height of the storm Sunday morning. Service was steadily restored to some 90,000 customers over the course of the day but more than 100,000 customers were still in the dark Monday morning.

An additional 15,487 Versant Power customers also were without power on Sunday morning.

Cumberland County was hit particularly hard, nearly half of of CMP’s 177,000-plus Cumberland County customers without power early Sunday, and service was out for more than 46,000 CMP customers in York County.


By Monday morning, CMP had restored power to nearly 50% of its impacted customers – though 103,000 were still in the dark – and Versant Power had restored power for all but 7 of its customers.

The impacts of the storm stretched up the coast and 25 miles inland, Breed said, adding that Portland was one of the harder-hit communities.

Breed said the utility had mustered 150 line crews and at least 150 tree crews that clear roads. CMP started assessing damage Sunday morning after being delayed by dangerous road conditions Saturday night, he said. The company also began deploying another 200 line crews from Vermont and Canada. CMP also responded to 775 emergency calls about blocked roads and downed power lines from local emergency management agencies on Sunday, Breed said in an update at the end of the day.

Breed said he thought it would take CMP until Tuesday evening to restore service to all of its Maine customers.

“The biggest issue is accessing the damage,” he said. Downed trees and falling ice were likely to slow the process and potentially cause additional outages.

“Areas that were hardest hit will see the longer outage periods, but they will also receive the most attention and the most focus from our crews,” Breed added.


Many CMP customers won’t get any estimate of when their power will be restored until Monday, Breed said Sunday afternoon. For the time being, their status on CMP’s website will just say “assessing.”

CMP spent Saturday night responding to over 250 emergency calls, including people trapped in their cars by downed power lines, he said.

Source: Central Maine Power

“We had to make the call last night to focus on emergency calls only because the conditions were so hazardous for our crews,” Breed said.

Temperatures dropped to 23 degrees in Portland on Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon, the temperature had climbed to 37 degrees and some ice was melting, but lows of 14 degrees are expected over the course of the next two days.

On Sunday, the city opened a warming shelter at the East End Community School at 195 North St. for people without power to visit and warm up, charge electronics or sleep overnight. The shelter was scheduled to be open from 5 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m Monday.

At the height of the storm, Kelli Musick feared that a tree was going to fall through the roof of her Portland home. Through her windows, she could hear cracks and pops and see the flashing green lights of what appeared to be transformers blowing.


Around 10 p.m., large branches fell from the tree next to her home and landed just feet from her bedroom.

“I screamed when I heard it,” Musick said.

“The limb itself is like the size of a small tree,” she said of one. “I really don’t know how it didn’t crash through and break our front porch or crash through the roof and into my room.”

Musick was glad she didn’t lose power, but she said Sunday that she still felt trapped by the storm. Ice was melting away and falling all around her house, and tree branches were lying on her porch, she said.

On Sunday afternoon, T.J. Boisclair was stuck at Dock Fore, a restaurant and bar in the Old Port, waiting out his power outage. He said his outage appeared to be part of a chain reaction. He started seeing the green lights of transformers flashing, and within 10 minutes, the string of flashes passed through his neighborhood in Portland and he lost power.

Boisclair spent a cold night wondering how long it would take for power to be restored.


“I was really surprised how quickly the temperature dropped to around like 49 degrees,” he said.

On Sunday morning, he found a tree hanging on a power line suspended over his yard. Boisclair’s power was restored on Sunday afternoon and the tree was removed.

Janet Garnett, of Portland, was far less lucky: She woke up the morning after the storm to a large tree limb crushing the car she had bought just three days before.

“I haven’t had a new car in 11 years, so it was pretty saddening,” Garnett said.

The tree limb, which stretched across her entire street, dented the hood of her car, took off a mirror and broke the windshield, doing enough damage that she can’t drive it to a repair shop.

Garnett’s understanding was that the City of Portland would cover the damage given that the limb came from a “city tree.” She hoped to get in touch with the city Monday to move forward in getting repairs. But she’ll soon learn that the city won’t be helping out.


“The city is not responsible for damages to vehicles or private property resulting from storms,” city spokesperson Jessica Grondin said. “We recommend that people contact their insurance company if they have vehicle or other damage related to the storm.”

Maine State Police responded to 210 car accidents Saturday and Sunday, according to spokesperson Shannon Moss. Only a few involved minor injuries, and there were no major road closures, authorities said.

Just before noon Sunday, most operations were back to normal at the Portland International Jetport, where crews spent the previous night preventing runways from freezing over.

“The forecast was all over the place leading into it. It did turn out to be much more ice than we were anticipating,” said Assistant Jetport Director Zachary Sundquist. “But we were able to pivot our approach.”

Sixteen flights arriving at or departing from Portland were canceled Saturday, with another 20 flights delayed, according to FlightAware. Four flights were canceled Sunday and six were delayed, but Sundquist said all airlines were operating on a regular schedule by midday.

The Maine Department of Transportation was working Sunday to plow roads and clear away trees. But spokesperson Paul Merrill said the storm was relatively mild compared to others in December and January that pummeled the state with hurricane-force winds, high tides and flooding.

The Casco Bay Bridge connecting South Portland and Portland was stuck in the raised position and closed down for an hour Sunday morning, but Merrill said it was a technical malfunction unrelated to the weather.

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