A nor’easter that brought powerful wind gusts, heavy rain and more than a foot of wet snow to some areas in midcoast and northern Maine left thousands of homes in the dark Sunday night.

More than 137,000 homes across Maine had lost power as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, forcing Central Maine Power Co. to call in Canadian crews Sunday night to help restore electricity in some areas.

The storm, which in some areas produced blizzard-like conditions, also prompted Gov. Paul LePage to declare a limited emergency Sunday. The governor’s order will allow utility crews to work additional hours to repair power lines.

“The storm will leave the state overnight, but getting power restored is expected to take several days,” LePage said in a news release.

Gail Rice, a spokeswoman for Central Maine Power Co., said customers in Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties were hardest hit by the storm. As of 9:30 p.m., more than 19,500 customers in Knox County were without electricity. The total number of outages in Knox, Lincoln and Waldo counties exceeded 54,000.

“The damage is very severe in Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties,” Rice said. “There is a lot of damage and some roads are just not passable. We are having a lot of trouble getting into the damaged areas. We are telling people that this will be a multiple-day restoration effort.”

Emera Maine, which provides power to customers in northern and downeast Maine, reported that about 55,000 customers were without power Sunday night.

Emera spokesman Bob Potts attributed the outages to “strong, gusty winds and heavy wet snow weighing down on tree limbs and trees on power lines.”

Potts said in a news release that areas in Penobscot and Hancock counties had the most outages. Most Emera customers should have power restored by the end of the day Wednesday, Potts said. People living in remote areas might be without power until the end of the week, he said.

HEAVY SNOW UP NORTH

Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, predicted snowfall amounts of 14 to 18 inches in Waldo and Knox counties by the time the storm ended late Sunday or early Monday.

The weather service said 12 inches of snow had fallen in Union by 3 p.m. and Camden had gotten 9 inches. It was still snowing in Knox County late Sunday night, and final snowfall totals probably won’t be known until Monday.

Northern Maine towns got their share of snow as well. The National Weather Service reported that Hampden in Penobscot County received 15.5 inches of snow while New Limerick in Aroostook County got 13 inches. Accumulations in Bangor ranged from 10 to 14 inches.

Curtis said the extensive power outages were the result of a nasty combination of powerful wind gusts combined with heavy, wet snow.

Gusts as high as 48 mph were recorded over land, and winds were stronger at sea, with gusts off Matinicus Island reaching 60 mph. Waves in the Gulf of Maine were more than 22 feet high, Curtis said.

“Those are obviously monster waves,” Curtis said. “I just hope that everyone heeded warnings and came into port.”

The United States Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday afternoon for two fishermen believed to be lost at sea near Matinicus Island. The fishermen were crew members on board the Cushing-based fishing vessel No Limits. The boat apparently sank Saturday afternoon.

Southern Maine escaped the brunt of the storm. Portland and Gray each received one inch or less of snow. Augusta and Waterville got 3 to 5 inches of snow, Curtis said.

TREACHEROUS ROADS

The storm made roads slick and treacherous in spots. Several cars in the Brunswick and Freeport area slid off roads. Several trees fell into roadways in Scarborough on Sunday night, forcing police to close Running Hill Road, Black Point Road and Sylvan Road for brief periods.

One tree fell on a police cruiser being driven along Black Point Road. The officer who was driving was not injured, but the cruiser’s front windshield was smashed.

Another storm-related crash was reported in Falmouth at Route 9 and Paddington Place at 1:07 p.m. Sunday.

A Hyundai sport utility vehicle was headed north on Route 9 when the driver lost control and crossed into the oncoming travel lane, colliding head-on with a Honda Odyssey minivan. The five people in the minivan – two adults and three teenagers – and two adults in the Hyundai were all taken to Portland hospitals for treatment, though none of the injuries was serious, said Falmouth Police Sgt. George Savidge.

The driver of the Hyundai probably was traveling at the 45-mph speed limit, but that was too fast for the conditions, Savidge said. The road was closed for about an hour.

The Cumberland County Regional Communications Center reported several minor crashes because of slippery roads Sunday, but no serious injuries.

In the western Maine town of Newry, the Sunday River ski resort – which had begun making snow – announced on its website that it plans to open for the season around 9 a.m. Monday. Any skier wearing a costume will ski for free. Sunday River will remain open for one day and then reopen next weekend.

Sunday’s snowstorm arrived at an odd time of year – about seven weeks before winter officially starts Dec. 21. It was also an unusual snowfall by coming before Portland has even had its first frost.

The average date for a first frost is Oct. 9, according to the National Weather Service.

The blast of wintry weather plummeted south from the Arctic, forming a storm in the southern U.S. that roared up the coast. South Carolina got its earliest snowfall ever, said John Cannon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

Monday should be sunny, with temperatures in the 40s, and windy. Another storm – this one with heavy rain – is due to roll into the state on Thursday.