February 10, 2013

Short stories from Mainers stuck in the blizzard

From staff reports

Yarmouth Nordic ski team makes the most of storm

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Lucy Sommo, right, of Portland braces herself from the strong winds along the Eastern Promenade while snowshoeing with Jean Geslin during a blizzard on Saturday morning in Portland on February 9, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans A man blows snow from his driveway on Bartlett Street in Waterville as Winter Storm Nemo hammers central Maine early Saturday morning.

Staff photo/Michael G. Seamans

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Snow kept motorists at home in Yarmouth but provided a rare opportunity for the high school Nordic ski team.

Five girls on the team hauled out their “rock skis” and headed to the streets for practice.

While the roads were somewhat plowed, crews had yet to spread any sand, resulting in near-perfect ski conditions on Main Street and other streets around the historic village.

The team Saturday was supposed to ski at the WMC Classic Championship Race at Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg, but the race was canceled due to the storm.

The race has been rescheduled for Monday.

Eerie street scene greets lifelong Portland resident

Dan Lord, the maintenance man at Matthew’s, with a sign outside declaring it “Portland’s Oldest Pub,” began shoveling out on the Free Street sidewalk before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Portland streets and sidewalks were eerily deserted at the time, with drifts of snow 4 to 5 feet high on some sidewalks and streets.

“This is the doozy,” said Lord, a lifelong Portland resident. “I think this tops it all.”

Wind and snowdrifts draw visitors to Fort Williams

As the blizzard was winding down Saturday morning, some folks braved the winds and snowdrifts at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth.

Cars could make it only as far as the top of the hill before a large snowdrift forced the drivers to turn around.

Skiers and snowshoers had better luck, although anyone on foot – including several dogs – had to deal with a wind that was largely horizontal.

Bare grass could be seen in large swathes of the park, particularly on exposed hilltops, with enormous sculpted drifts piled nearby. One photographer pulled an insulated, wheeled cooler filled with his cameras, lenses, batteries and tripod.

Two boys from Cape Elizabeth, 11-year-old Ben Payson and his neighbor Jack Sands, spent the morning building a snow fort connected by a tunnel, then ventured into Fort Williams with their parents to check out the waves. Payson took great pleasure in leaping off a picnic table into the wind.

Debris from the ocean washed nearly to the beach’s adjacent parking lot, thanks to a higher-than-usual high tide at 10 a.m. and the powerful storm surge.

All quiet in Buxton – except for one lone snowmobiler

Buxton residents Saturday were slow to dig out from under nearly 30 inches of snow.

At midafternoon, a lone snowmobiler zipped up and down snow-covered Depot Street.

Many stores in town were closed, but Aubuchon Hardware saw about 15 customers throughout the day.

“The only thing we’re selling is snow shovels, transmission fluid and gas cans,” said assistant store manager Ann Wedge.

Wedge said she arrived at the store at the intersection of routes 4A and 202 to find the parking lot packed with 4-foot drifts of snow. A pile of snow fell into the store when she opened the front doors.

“I don’t remember a storm ever being this bad,” she said.

Andrew Whitaker of Buxton, who ventured to Aubuchon for parts to fix his broken snowblower, was less impressed.

“It’s Maine,” he said. “It’s supposed to be like this.”

Close call for man who was blown into Portland Harbor

One man escaped a close call during the blizzard. A cold one, too.

The unidentified man was blown off a waterfront pier shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday into Casco Bay, said Portland Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria, who is also the city’s emergency management director.

The man was quickly pulled from the water and onto the pier at 25 Long Wharf, near DiMillo’s On the Water floating restaurant off Commercial Street, LaMoria said, speaking at a late-morning news conference at the city’s Public Services Offices.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Snow blows and drifts over the benches along the Eastern Promenade during the blizzard on Munjoy Hill in Portland onSaturday morning February 9, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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Alexandria Brahler, right, holds onto Colin Matthews, as they struggle against strong winds and blowing snow Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 in Portland, Maine. Officials are cautioning residents to stay off the roads in Maine, where Portland set an all-time snowfall record and blowing snow continues to reduce visibility on the coast. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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Skiers put fresh tracks on Quarry Road as snow falls in Waterville on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013.

Michael G. Seamans / Staff Photographer

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