The winter storm that blew into Maine on Wednesday delivered two very different weather events, drowning Portland and coastal communities in steady rain for most of the day while burying inland towns under a blanket of heavy snow.

It was still raining in Portland at 8:30 p.m., but was snowing hard in Westbrook, Gorham, Windham and Bridgton, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray. The precipitation had started to turn to snow along the coast by 9 p.m.

“If you are driving beyond Westbrook, get ready. We’ve heard that it is snowing sideways just a little bit farther inland,” the Westbrook Police Department said in a message posted on its Facebook page. “It looks like we are going to get some intense snow tonight, up to a foot of heavy, wet snow. We aren’t going to sugar coat it. Tomorrow’s morning commute will be a royal pain.”

A tractor-trailer jackknifed on the snow-covered Maine Turnpike in New Gloucester on Wednesday night. A dispatcher said the accident happened in the northbound lanes near mile 71 around 8:30 p.m.

The heavy snowfall contributed to power outages in inland towns. More than 14,400 Central Maine Power Co. customers had lost power by 5:30 a.m. Thursday, with 7,729 of those outages reported in Cumberland County, including 2,503 in Gorham, 1,253 in Gray and 1,160 in Windham. York County had 6,038 reported outages, including 1,655 in North Berwick and 1,138 in Wells and 803 in York.

Meteorologist Eric Schwibs said he was not certain how much snow will accumulate in Portland by the time the storm ends at daybreak Thursday.

He said inland areas such as Westbrook and Windham would probably get more than a foot.

“The snow line is just a few miles outside Portland,” Schwibs said. “Just take a drive up Route 302 tonight, I think you’d be shocked at the amount of snow that has fallen. It’s a different world. The inland areas got hosed.”

Though snowfall totals were still being compiled Wednesday evening, Bridgton reported 11.3 inches of snow and North Sebago 10.5 inches as of 8 p.m.

Portland declared an overnight parking ban Wednesday 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday.

Complete, searchable list of today’s snow delays, cancellations, parking bans

Jessica Grondin, the city’s spokeswoman, said the city declared the ban because many streets – especially those in the West End and East End neighborhoods – were still too narrow because of plowed snow from previous storms and could block emergency vehicles.

Another night of plowing should put the city in pretty good shape, she said, adding, “our crews are exhausted. They’ve been plowing since Saturday (with shift breaks).”

The parade of snowstorms has taken its toll on the city’s snow removal budget as well. As of Feb. 8, the city had about $400,000 left, Grondin said.

“That figure doesn’t include the weekend storms,” Grondin said. “The budget definitely took a hit over the weekend.”

This Maine Turnpike webcam photo shows conditions on the turnpike, looking south from the Route 35 overpass in Kennebunk Thursday morning at 6:07 a.m.

Grondin said Portland still has plenty of room for dumping snow at its lots on West Commercial Street, Franklin Street, Cutter Street, Riverside Street and on outer Congress Street.

With all the snow that has fallen this week, officials in some towns were worried about roofs collapsing.

Roby Fecteau, director of the city of Biddeford’s emergency management office, urged homeowners to remove excess snow. He recommends that property owners use a roof rake or hire a contractor.

“It is never recommended to remove snow by standing on the roof itself,” Fecteau said in a news release. He recommends getting a written estimate and checking references before hiring a contractor.

Highways covered with snow, rain and slush proved dangerous Wednesday. Maine State Police said dozens of cars had slid off roads.

“Receiving multiple calls for cars off the road and accidents due to standing water in some areas and snow in others. Travel with caution,” the Maine Turnpike Authority tweeted Wednesday night.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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