February 11, 2013

Digging deep: Snow removal could take weeks

Tall snowbanks line Portland streets, but clearing is under way and schools are open.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Federal Spice owner and cook Eric Martin does his part by helping the Fire Department clear the hydrant in front of his Federal Street eatery on Monday.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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John Patriquin/Staff Photographer: Large snowflakes fell before a freezing rain as Portlanders make their way around the messy streets and sidewalks of intown Portland Monday Feb.11,2013 after a blizzard hit Maine this past weekend. This scene is in Monument Square toward Free st.

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At least one downtown business was facing deeper problems. High winds blew out a second-floor window at Longfellow Books in Monument Square sometime after 5 p.m. Saturday, causing pipes to freeze and the sprinkler system to soak much of the store’s contents. Nearly half of the 30,000 titles in stock were damaged, said store owner Chris Bowe.

Other shop owners were digging out for the first time Sunday.

Tim McNamara, manager at Bar of Chocolate Cafe, hustled to clear the doorway to the Wharf Street business, panting in the cold as he flung snow toward an embankment. Plows seemed to miss the cobblestone-paved thoroughfare, or at least portions of it, leaving pedestrians to slosh through what remained.

Meteorologists said another stint of precipitation is headed into the region Monday, when a half-inch mix of snow and rain is expected to begin falling about midday. The snow will turn to rain as temperatures reach into the 40s by Monday evening, said Chris Legro, a meteorologist at the weather service in Gray.

“It’s not going to last very long,” Legro said, “Then things dry out in the evening and overnight into Tuesday.”

The deep snow created some unexpected dangers. Andrew E. Smith, director of Environmental and Occupational Health Programs for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned residents who will be digging out their vehicles to be mindful of blocked tailpipes, which can lead to a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide inside the vehicle if it is left running. The call for caution came after two people in Boston died Saturday and two others were injured by the accumulating gas.

Not all of post-blizzard activity was glum shoveling and damage assessment.

Along the Eastern Promenade, a wall of snow obscured the view of the water from the road. But inside, the park and beach below bustled with the sound of plastic sliding on snowpack.

Megan Buckley, 26, of South Portland and her boyfriend Jeff Peterson, 27, who was visiting from Minneapolis, were among about 15 people sledding by the playground – one of the few parts of the hill that hadn’t been blown bare.

Peterson, who’s originally from North Dakota, said he wasn’t overwhelmed by the storm.

“This is a decent blizzard, I guess, for you guys,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bryan Graf, who teaches photography at the Maine College of Art, snapped shots of a block of ice sitting on the shore.

“They look like miniature glaciers,” Graf, 30, said of the frozen fragments that covered some sections of the shoreline.

At Pineland Farms Outdoor Center in New Gloucester, cross-country skiers greeted the fresh snow with enthusiasm.

About 1,100 skiers and snowshoers were on the trails at the peak, even though the warmer temperatures softened the snow, making it a bit sticky, said Matt Sabasteanski, outdoor recreation director.

It was hard to find a spot in the parking lot, and every piece of rental equipment was out, he said.

“The volume of skiers was fairly huge,” Sabasteanski said.

Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said it would be safe to say that a person could ride just about anywhere in the state.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Meyers said. “This will really open things up and get people riding again.”

At Sunday River ski resort in Newry, more than 600 acres of trails were open for downhill skiing.

“Things were pretty amazing today,” Darcy Morse, the resort’s spokeswoman, said Sunday night. “We gave our snowmakers the day off.”

Staff writers Dennis Hoey, Bob Keyes, Leslie Bridgers and Beth Quimby contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

mbyrne@mainetoday.com

Staff writer Bob Keyes contributed to this report.

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Additional Photos

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A section of Franklin Street in Portland is closed off Sunday as trucks bring in snow from around the city to be deposited in the median after a weekend storm brought 31.9 inches of snow to the city.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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Portland firefighter Eric Weeks shovels out a fire hydrant on West Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Mike Carey blows the snow off his driveway on Oakdale Street in Portland during the cleanup from a blizzard on Sunday.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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A large snowdrift rests on the top of the car of Joshua Hamel as he cleans off his car in Portland on Sunday, the day after Blizzard Nemo.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Bert Johnson
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Bert Johnson takes a break while clearing snow from a bus-stop bench outside the apartment complex where he lives.

The Associated Press

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A truck dumps a load of snow in a lot at Preble and Kennebec streets in Portland on Sunday during the cleanup in the aftermath of the weekend blizzard that set a record of 31.9 inches of snowfall in the city.

Tim GreenwayStaff Photographer

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Pat Dunn of Pine Point shovels out mailboxes at the end of Pine Street in Pine Point on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Brock Hieger of Saco sinks up to his waist in snow as he walks up a sliding hill at Saco Middle School on Sunday. Heiger was helping his 2-year-old son Gavin, right, when Gavin decided to walk on his own.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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John Morrill Read of Saco shovels his way through the deep snow in an effort to get his vehicle out of his garage on School Street in Saco on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Chris Dyer, left, and Michael Demers of Saco make their way down School Street with shovels in hand as they look for driveways to shovel Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Kevin McPherson of Pleasant View Drive in Saco shovels off his roof on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Liam Bridgham of Scarborough skis with his mother, Kim, Sunday at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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Jerry Hunter shovels his walkway in Portland on Sunday after a weekend storm brought 31.9 inches of snow to the city.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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Charlie Creswell, 4, sleds down a hill created by the snowplows on Fessenden Street in Portland on Sunday.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Chris and Kim Nichols of Scarborough cross-country ski along the Eastern Trail in Scarborough on Sunday. Chris is pulling his 9-month-old daughter, Lily, in a tow on skis.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Chris Massey of Cornish operates a loader on Sunday at a shopping plaza in Falmouth, while removing snow for Shaw Brothers Construction.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

  


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