February 10, 2013

Short stories from Mainers stuck in the blizzard

From staff reports

(Continued from page 1)

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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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The man was transported to a hospital but was believed to be OK, the chief said.

LaMoria could not immediately say what the man was doing on the wharf at 3 a.m. in the middle of the storm.

Could have been worse for guests at Portland hotel

Portland hotels got some extra business from downtown workers who couldn’t go home Friday night.

One, the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Spring Street, had a fire alarm during the blizzard, forcing its guests to evacuate their rooms around 12:15 a.m., said manager Sarah Ripley.

Fortunately, Ripley said, guests only had to evacuate to the lobby and didn’t have to go outside into the blizzard.

“I’m not sure what triggered the alarm,” Ripley said. “They were able to go back to their rooms.”

Snow creates lots of work for a few good Samaritans

Even as the snow tapered off Saturday morning, gusting winds pushed the snow across roads and made driving tricky.

In some places, it was hard to see where road ended and sidewalk began.

The South Portland entrance to the Casco Bay Bridge on Route 77 was almost blocked by snowdrifts at one point Saturday morning.

While roads were almost empty, good Samaritans were out in force. One anonymous rescuer shoveled and pushed a vehicle stuck in a snowbank on Free Street in Portland for 10 minutes, refusing to give up until the motorist was once more on her way.

Snowstorm proves tricky for the professionals as well

Even snowplow drivers were getting stuck in the storm.

Ben Dionne of South Portland got up at 3 a.m. to start on his route, but two hours later was still trying to get his truck out of 4-foot drifts in his own driveway.

Then, once he got out to to work, he got stuck in a customer’s driveway.

“I had to get a wrecker to get me out,” Dionne said.

Whiteout conditions even idled the power line crews

Sixty contract line workers from New Brunswick drove to Portland on Friday to be in position to assist with repairs.

But by midmorning Saturday the crews – and their 26 trucks – were still waiting at Portland’s Clarion Hotel for roads to be passable and for winds to die down sufficiently to go to work. At 10 a.m., dozens of the workers milled around in boots and safety vests watching television reports on the storm and awaiting the call to go to work.

“It’s really, really cold and windy out there,” one line worker said on returning from checking his truck. “The roads aren’t passable.”

During major weather events, Central Maine Power Co. typically books large blocks of rooms at the Clarion and other Portland hotels for out-of-town line workers called in to assist with emergency repairs.

While the blizzard slowed repairs, the region escaped significant outages and the crews had electricity to nearly all customers by Saturday evening.

Die-hard shoppers still find their Pringles and beer

At least some grocery stores and convenience stores were open Saturday for people in need of supplies.

The Hannaford Supermarket in Mill Creek in South Portland was open at the usual 7 a.m. Several customers had dropped in by mid-morning.

Broadway One Stop at 333 Broadway in South Portland saw a steady stream of customers.

“One guy was at the door when I opened at 7 a.m. for a 12-pack and some Pringles. Since then, its been beer and cigarettes,” said Christian Hirschmeier, assistant manager.

When you can’t get out to the gym, try ‘snowga’ 

With fitness centers shut down during the storm, gym rats had to resort to snow shoveling and outdoor sports activities for their workouts.

(Continued on page 3)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

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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