Line workers work to restore power on Hallowell Road in Pownal on Friday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Maryssa Gammon hasn’t been able to cook a hot meal or heat her 3-month-old’s bottles in three days. 

The power to their Biddeford apartment has been off since 1:30 a.m. Thursday. It’s freezing. Gammon and her husband built a fort for their 6-year-old to try to hold in the heat, and they’ve been using hand-warmer packets and body heat to get the baby’s milk up to a tolerable temperature.

She never expected the outage to last this long – and she hasn’t heard any updates about when it might end.

“I figured that in a city, we would be far more apt to get it back (quickly),” said Gammon, 27. “I go on (the Central Maine Power app) every couple of hours, and it’s been ‘assessing’ since Thursday morning. Occasionally, it’ll tell me that my power has been restored, and I have to re-report it.”

The Gammons are running a power strip from their van to power a lamp and keep her phone charged enough to run the hotspot she needs to work. Gammon works as a contractor in the publishing industry, and if she doesn’t work, she doesn’t get paid. And the family can’t afford for her not to work, especially with the roughly $30 a day it costs for gas to run the van. 

“I could do without lights, I could do without internet. But the kids need heat, the kids need cooked food,” Gammon said. “We don’t have anywhere to go.”


Almost 70,000 Mainers were still without power Saturday evening, more than two days after a two-day-long nor’easter hit the region with strong winds and heavy snow. The spring storm knocked out power for nearly 400,000 CMP and Versant Power customers and dumped over a foot of snow across much of southern Maine.

Thursday’s storm came less than two weeks after a powerful snow and ice storm knocked out power to 200,000 CMP customers, some of whom waited days for power to be restored then, too.

Source: Central Maine Power

Gammon’s building lost power for around 24 hours during the other storm. She figured this time would be much the same.

Her husband and their 6-year-old walk up the street a few times a day to see if crews have removed the big tree that took down the wires in their neighborhood. So far, they haven’t.

As of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, York County had just over 26,000 outages, and Cumberland County had about 17,500, according to CMP’s website. Oxford County, with almost 10,000 power outages, and Androscoggin, at about 3,000, also were affected by heavy snow that brought down tree limbs and wires and damaged utility poles.

At the height of the outages Thursday afternoon, Versant reported nearly 16,000 of its customers were without power. Only 61 were still in the dark by early evening Saturday.


All Kennebunk Light and Power District customers had their power restored by late Saturday morning, according to the utility’s website.


CMP outage numbers dropped steadily throughout Saturday. By Saturday evening, the utility reported that about 80% of customers who lost power had it back, and crews were set to continue working overnight to restore electricity to the 77,000 customers remaining.

But for those still in the dark and cold, that felt like little consolation.

Chris Silsbee, manager of Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, saws through a fallen tree on Friday, a day after a powerful nor’easter swept through the region. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Michelle Norton Tow headed to Pop’s Tavern in Biddeford early Saturday morning to charge her phone and warm up. 

The temperature in her apartment at the Saco Lofts was 51 degrees when she left, and her phone battery was clinging to life at 1%. The tavern opened at 8 a.m., and she joined a small group of people with the same idea. 


Norton Tow, 49, said her heat and hot water turned off early Thursday morning, but the building had partial power for most of Friday – she was able to charge a phone or turn on a lamp, depending on the outlet.

But then, on Thursday afternoon, CMP informed her that crews were shutting down the power to fix the transformer.

That was the last she heard. 

Norton Tow hasn’t been able to shower, and without heat, she’s been alternating between piling on so many blankets that she’s sweating, then taking them off and freezing. Eventually, she’ll have to throw out the food in her fridge. 

There hasn’t been much to do. The internet is out, and Spectrum texted to say she was over her data usage.

“I sat in the dark all night,” she said. “It’s been a nightmare.”


In Sanford, Angie Brown spent a similarly miserable night hunkered down in her bedroom with pillows in the windows and a rolled-up blanket in front of the door to keep out the cold. The temperature in her house dipped below 50 degrees.

After nearly three days of no heat, electricity or updates, Brown finally received a restoration estimate from CMP on Saturday afternoon: 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

“That’s more than five days without power,” she said. “I wasn’t really worried Thursday. I wasn’t really worried Friday. Tuesday at 10 p.m. … That worries me.”

A few times a day, she’d go out to her car to plug in her phone and warm up. It was tedious and frustrating, and the thought of three more days of it was daunting.

But Brown got lucky: Her power was restored just after 5 p.m. on Saturday, 56 hours after it shut off.

Still, she was surprised the outage lasted so long.


At 47, she has lived in her house for more than a decade and previously never lost power for more than a few hours. When the March ice storm hit, she only lost Wi-Fi for three days.

“That was inconvenient but tolerable. This is just ridiculous to me,” Brown said before her power had been restored.

Now, she’s able to relax, a weight lifted off her shoulders after a long hot shower.

For Brown, the lack of information was the most frustrating part of the ordeal. She doesn’t blame the line crew workers, whom she noted have been working hard.

But she said she hadn’t been able to reach a live person from CMP. The text from the utility company was the first update she had seen, and she saw her first CMP truck on Saturday afternoon. And the text wound up not even being accurate.

Residents on many other streets in Sanford received a similar text, but it remained to be seen how long they’d have to wait for their power to be restored, too.



The amount of snow that fell between Wednesday night and Friday morning varied widely across southern and central Maine, but most areas received at least 6 inches, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray.

Gusting winds from Thursday’s nor’easter tangled this traffic light into branches at the intersection of Western Avenue and Port Road in Kennebunk on Thursday.  Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

In Cumberland County, 18 inches fell in Gray and Raymond, while Cumberland Center and New Gloucester topped out at 17. Closer to the coast, the weather service received reports of 8 inches in South Portland and at the Portland International Jetport. Suburbs north of Portland saw just over a foot of snow by the time the storm moved out Friday morning.

Shapleigh hit the snow jackpot in York County with 21.5 inches, while Acton had just under 20 inches. Other totals include 18.4 inches in Hollis, 15 inches in Sanford and 7.6 inches in Saco. Farther to the south, Kittery Point got just 1.2 inches, according to a weather service report.

Snow totals in Kennebec County ranged from 11 inches in Hallowell to 17 in Oakland. Over in Androscoggin County, Poland saw 20.6 inches of snow, while 14.5 inches were reported in Auburn and 10 inches in Livermore Falls.

When Toby McAllister tried to shovel his Poland driveway on Thursday, his shovel snapped in half. It was like shoveling cement, he said.


McAllister, 37, has a wood stove and a generator to keep the lights on and the house warm. He, his wife and their young daughter live down a camp road – in the house where McAllister grew up – and the area is often among the last to have power restored. After the winter storms in mid-December, he invested in a larger, more powerful generator.

He’s been taking trips back and forth to the gas station to fill the gas tanks to keep it running.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s part of living in Maine at the same time,” he said.

McAllister said the wind was particularly powerful during the height of the storm, and he could hear the branches on nearby trees snapping in half. It felt similar to the ice storm of 1998, he said, and it solidified his decision to take down some old pines on the edge of his property. It’s not worth the risk.

“I’ve lived in this area for a long time,” he said. “It seems like every year, the storms in this area are getting more extreme.”

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