GRAY — A storm that had dumped 10 inches of snow in parts of the state by 10 a.m. today should be over by noon, said a meteorologist from the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, utility crews are working to restore power to customers who have lost it.

Central Maine Power Co. reports that the heavy wet snow knocked out power to almost 10,000 customers, most in Cumberland and Lincoln counties.

Cumberland County had 4,272 businesses and households without power as of 11:30 p.m. and Lincoln had 2,704 without electricity. Sagadahoc had 1,389 customers without power and York County had just 857.

The snow has caused fewer disruptions inland. Just 21 customers are without power in Kennebec County.

“Most of them have been in areas along the coast from York County to Knox County, and many of them have been due to car-pole accidents,” said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice. Car crashes in Freeport, Harpswell, Richmond and Edgecomb led to utility poles snapping and several thousand customer accounts being knocked out for each, she said.

The Oxford County town of Otisfield had the highest snow accumulation in the state with 10.5 inches of snow as of 10 a.m., said meteorologist Tom Hawley.

A little over 9 inches had fallen in Augusta by 11 a.m.

Western Cumberland County towns were close behind with 10 inches in north Sebago, more than 9.5 inches in New Gloucester and about 8 inches in Gray.

In Portland, where rain has been the primary form of precipitation, just under an inch of snow had accumulated by mid-morning, when Hawley said the storm was starting to wind down.

Light sleet and snow in Cumberland and York counties would continue until about noon, Hawley said. He said another band of light snow or rain may come through this afternoon.

Dozens of cars slid off the highway this morning, but there were no major accidents, said Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland. He said there were no particular hot spots along the highway; the cars had slid off the road “everywhere south of Bangor.”

Traffic was also slowed signifcantly by tractor-trailer trucks having difficulty getting traction, said McCausland.

In Lebanon, Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole said members gathered at the fire station at midnight to be ready for any emergency rescue calls after the storm hit.

“Lebanon Highway crews were out around 4  a.m. and the roads were being plowed quickly, but the snow and ice were coming down pretty hard for a while and it was extremely slippery,” Cole said. The rescue crews responded to seven crashes but nobody was hurt.
 
Cole said they are expecting a busy evening commute as roads refreeze when the sun goes down and the tempatures drop.