A storm that persisted longer than forecasters thought managed to snarl both the morning and evening commutes in southern Maine on Friday.

Forecasters thought that the storm would drop 3 to 6 inches of snow, but many communities in the southern half of the state saw nearly twice the upper amount of that range, said James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

“We knew we were going to be on the western edge of it, but we didn’t expect quite so much,” Brown said.

About 9 inches of snow fell in Portland, 10 inches were recorded in Turner, and Wells and Scarborough got 9.5 inches of snow, he said.

But skies will clear Saturday and temperatures will rise above normal, Brown said, with highs in the mid-30s Saturday and around 40 Sunday. The normal high for Saturday and Sunday is 33, he said.

And the latest forecast shows that a storm moving up the coast on Monday and Tuesday may miss the region. Brown said computer models suggest the track will be too far offshore to produce much, if any, snow in Maine.

Numerous slideoffs and accidents were reported throughout the region Friday as road conditions worsened as the snow continued to fall. It began before daybreak Friday and didn’t move out until sunset in most areas.

“The conditions have been horrible all day,” said Sgt. James Estabrook of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. “We’re up to about 250 calls for service for the day,” he said, referring to the communities dispatched by the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center.

The majority of crashes were because people were driving too fast for the conditions, he said.

“Just because the speed limit sign says 40 or 45 (mph) doesn’t mean you have to go that fast if the road conditions don’t call for it,” he said.

Winds of 10-15 mph will grow stronger after the storm, with gusts up to 30 mph, leading to blowing and drifting snow, the weather service said.

The city of Portland declared a citywide parking ban beginning at 10 p.m. Friday. Scarborough declared a parking ban from 6 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday, Brunswick put a ban in place from 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sanford banned on-street parking until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Speed restrictions were imposed along the Maine Turnpike throughout the day and into the night.

Tow trucks working for AAA spent much of the day pulling vehicles back onto the road.

“It’s busy but it’s not off the hook busy right now,” Pat Moody, spokesman for AAA, said at 4 p.m., though he expected the evening commute would lead to more calls.

“At our peak, we took 180 calls in a half hour,” Moody said, noting that the busiest period was around lunchtime. By 4 p.m., AAA had received 2,200 calls for wrecker service across northern New England, about the same amount as for an entire 24-hour span.

“The fact a lot of businesses and schools were closed has trimmed down the amount of requests,” he said.

In Woolwich, Sagadahoc County officials encouraged motorists to avoid Route 1, which was almost at a standstill Friday afternoon because of slippery conditions and because tow trucks were trying to retrieve several cars that had slid off the road.

In Scarborough, a section of Payne Road was closed for much of the morning following a six-vehicle crash that was reported shortly before 9 a.m. Emergency crews sent one person to a hospital with minor injuries. In Winthrop, a state plow truck was rear-ended by a car on Route 133 about 8 a.m. No injuries were reported and the crash resulted in about $1,000 worth of damage to the plow, according to Ted Talbot, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. He said the plow was damaged enough that it would be taken out of the rotation for plowing Friday and replaced with another one.

“This does happen when visibility is bad,” Talbot said. “It’s not a great amount (of snow), but that doesn’t mean driving is not tricky.”

Most public schools in York and Cumberland counties were closed Friday.

The storm and the temperatures produced a wet, sticky snow.

“It’s not a really heavy, wet snow, but certainly not light and fluffy – something in between,” said Brown, of the weather service. “It’s certainly not breaking any branches. … It makes a good snowman.”

Central Maine Power Co. reported that 226 customers were without power at 8 p.m., most in York County.

In Emera Maine’s service area, which includes Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Washington and Piscataquis counties, 2,197 customers were without power at 8 p.m., most in Hancock County.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy contributed to this report.

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