The Ice Storm of 1998 began Jan. 5 with freezing drizzle. But on Jan. 6, the National Weather Service warned of severe icing as a more dangerous storm moved into Maine. The storm stalled over the state, and for two days freezing precipitation rained down.

On Jan. 8, then-Gov. Angus King declared a state of emergency.

Much of the state had been encased in a 4-inch layer of ice that for the next several weeks kept portions of central and southern Maine – as well as several other states and parts of Canada – in a state of frozen paralysis. Six Mainers died as a result of the storm, according to a Maine government website.

Some 600,000 Maine residents lost electricity for days, and some for more than two weeks. Just when power was restored, another ice storm hit areas that had been previously spared, shutting off electricity for another 164,500 residents. Some 10,000 households lost telephone service.

Throughout the crisis, Mainers coped with Yankee ingenuity and fortitude, melting snow for drinking water, cooking on camp stoves and reading by candlelight. Neighbors helped neighbors, and people got through it.


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