Area communities are beginning to establish shelters for residents after an ice storm left public safety and utilities crews combating power outages, downed trees and broken utility poles Friday morning.

At noon on Friday, Scarborough set up a shelter at Scarborough High School where a few people without power were already taking advantage.

“I needed to get warm and my kerosene heater had run out,” said Anna Livingstone who lives on Black Point Road and lost her power at 1:30 in the morning. “After the 1998 ice storm I was without power for a week and I hope that doesn’t happen again.”

At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Central Maine Power reported 197,000 customers without power, and that number is rising said Gail Rice, a spokeswoman with CMP.

“It is the worst we’ve seen since the ice storm of 1998,” she said.

Roads have been closed throughout southern Maine as crews attempt to clear downed trees and utility poles.

Cape Elizabeth

All of Cape Elizabeth was without power as of 10:30 a.m. on Friday, according to the Cape Elizabeth Police Department.

Cottage Farms Road, Hannaford Cove Road, Lawson Road, Meadow Way and Cranbrook Road were closed.

Windham and Gray

Windham and Gray are both dealing with widespread power outages. There is currently no power at the Windham Town Hall, and Windham High School is now open as an emergency shelter. Residents can call 892-2525 to arrange for transportation to the shelter.

Gray Fire-Rescue Chief Ricky Plummer said the damage in Gray is significant. Route 100 is closed to the Cumberland/Gray line, and that is just the beginning of the problems, he said.

“All over town we’ve got wires and cables down,” said Plummer, adding that people should only travel if absolutely necessary.

Scarborough

In Scarborough, the areas of Pine Point, Dunston, Black Point and Eight Corners were still without power as of 10:45 a.m. Friday, Scarborough police said.

Twenty roads were still closed in Scarborough by 10:45 and the town was going to open a shelter at the Scarborough High School by noon time for people to go to who are without power.

“This storm for us is worse than the 1998 ice storm,” said Scarborough Fire Chief Michael Thurlow. “In 1998 we only had a small section of town affected, but this time the whole town was blanketed with a lot of freezing rain.”

Gorham

Gorham Village remained without power at 9:30 a.m., and computers were down at the Public Safety Building, where a generator was providing power.

“Police have been busy,” a police administrative assistant said.

Gorham Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said power lines are down all over town. He warned people not to go near any downed line. “You don’t know whether they are alive,” he said, adding that electricity might be backfed through lines from a generator running at another residence.

Lefebvre said an emergency shelter would open at 2 p.m. at Gorham Middle School on Weeks Road. The shelter will be staffed by police and emergency medical technicians. The shelter will have showers and food available.

Lefebvre is warning people with generators to exercise caution. Lefebvre said Gorham Rescue took an elderly couple with carbon monoxide poisoning to the hospital Friday morning, Lefebvre said the couple had been running a gasoline-powered generator in the basement of the home.

“If you’re going to run a generator, it needs to be outdoors,” Lefebvre said.

Lefebvre said firefighters also responded to a call when a furnace directly wired to a generator overheated.

Buxton

Dave Piche, dispatch supervisor in Buxton, said many local Buxton roads with broken utility poles and downed tree limbs are closed. But major highways through Buxton, routes 202, 22 and 112, are open with only minor problems.

Piche said there are widespread power outages in Buxton and Hollis. An emergency shelter is open at the Groveville Fire Station on Turkey Lane.

Saco and Old Orchard Beach

Areas near Saco Bay were hit hard by power outages and downed tree limbs. Much of Old Orchard Beach remained without electricity by Friday evening, especially near the coast, but traffic lights on Route 1 in Saco regained power late in the afternoon. Many businesses were closed throughout the area. The Saco Hannaford planned to close early at 7:00 p.m. A fallen branch closed Portland Road between Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough, and falling chunks of ice presented another hazard on roads near forested land. Radley’s supermarket in Old Orchard Beach, however, was open and did not lose power due to being in a fortunate position on the power grid. “My business has tripled,” said owner Ed Radley, who reported customers arriving from as far away as Biddeford and Portland.

Sanford

In Sanford, Rescue Department Chief Paul Morrison said the department had received over 70 calls as of 10 a.m. regarding lost power, downed power lines and fallen trees.

“Just about everyone is without power right now,” said Morrison.

Bridgton and Naples

Dispatchers in Bridgton and Naples reported they had received calls about trees and wires down.

Deb Plummer, communications director in Naples, said all of Route 302 was out of power earlier in the morning but was back on by 10:30 a.m. She reported Wiley Road in Naples was still blocked.

Region

A dispatcher with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the dispatch center had received “tons” of calls reporting wires and trees down, adding that coastal areas were hardest hit.

Central Maine Power has contacted utilities in neighboring states and the Canadian Maritimes for assistance, but the damage from the storm had affected many areas in the northeast. The company cannot predict when out-of-state assistance may be available.

“Public safety will be our priority today,” said John Carroll, a Central Maine Power spokesman, in a released statement. “Crews will be working to make sure that downed lines and broken poles are de-energized to keep the public safe. The restoration work may not start in earnest until late in the day in many areas.”

Rice said Central Maine Power has a crew of 400, which is everyone available, on duty. Rice said the main focus Friday is public safety. Central Maine Power crews are working to cut power to downed lines. She said the utility would begin assessment of power outages later today and she said some areas in Maine would likely be without power into next week.

An ice storm left trees throughout the Northeast coated in ice. The storm downed trees and utility poles and left thousands without power Friday morning.The end of a tree branch in the Dunegrass Golf Club in Old Orchard Beach sparkles in its icy casing.Trees splintered from the weight of ice all over York County, including at the Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.


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