More than 14,000 homes and businesses in Maine were still without power early Wednesday evening, hours after the state was pounded by a blizzard that dumped more than 20 inches of snow in some areas just days before the official start of spring.

While much of the state spent Wednesday digging out from the record-breaking snowstorm, forecasters were warning that more “plowable” snow was possible Saturday evening.

However, meteorologist John Cannon of the National Weather Service in Gray downplayed the weekend forecast saying several forecasting models were in disagreement Wednesday.

“There is the potential for more snow Saturday night into Sunday, but our confidence levels are not high,” Cannon said. “If we do see another snowstorm, we won’t get anywhere near the amounts we saw from Tuesday’s storm.”

Cannon said the blizzard broke a Portland International Jetport snowfall record for the date set 56 years ago. The old record was 10.6 inches of snow set on March 14, 1961. The weather service said Portland got 16.3 inches Tuesday.

The blizzard contributed to what has been one of the snowiest seasons in recent years. As of March 15, Portland had received 66.2 inches – the average for that date is 46.4 inches. Portland had received 41inches by that date last year, Cannon said.

While most of the state got at least a foot of snow in this week’s storm, others like Lisbon Falls, Gorham and North Waterboro hit the snowfall jackpot. Lisbon Falls reported 22 inches, North Waterboro got 21 inches, and Gorham reported 20 inches of snow.

The high totals caused cleanup problems for Portland and service problems for power companies. Portland issued a yellow zone parking ban from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Vehicles left in Portland’s downtown can be towed at the owner’s expense within the area bounded by Cumberland Avenue, Franklin Street, Commercial Street and State Street during yellow zone bans.

Gail Rice, a spokeswoman for Central Maine Power Co., said the storm disrupted electrical service to more than 40,000 customers in all. Outages caused by high winds and heavy snow peaked late Tuesday evening at nearly 32,000.

Rice said towns in York County were most heavily affected, and more than 12,700 outages were still being reported Wednesday night.

The hardest-hit communities were York, Eliot and Kittery, where some customers were not expected to have power until Thursday morning. York reported 7,000 residents without power Wednesday night.

CMP first started getting reports of outages in York County around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Crews had to be pulled off the road for a while later in the day when blizzard conditions made it too dangerous to work, Rice said.

After the snow and wind died down, crews worked through the night.

Bob Potts, a spokesman for Emera Maine, said more than 1,100 customers in northern and eastern Maine were still without power Wednesday evening. Potts said line crews restored power to nearly 8,000 customers on Wednesday. Most of the Emera Maine outages were in Hancock and Washington counties.

Maine ski areas were not complaining. Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, where 12.8 inches of snow fell, said on its Facebook page, “We hit the jackpot for snowfall totals! Epic powder day is on the books for today.”

Sunday River ski resort in Newry wrote on Facebook, “When it snows nearly two feet and the sun shines all morning, you know you found it.”

Schools and town offices in Kittery remained closed Wednesday because of the outages, and the town opened the Gorges Road Fire Station to people in need of warm shelter.

York police announced Wednesday morning that York Beach Fire/Rescue was open as a warming center and a place for residents to use restrooms. In Ogunquit, where about half of homes and businesses were without power, town hall was closed for the day.

Ogunquit police set up power strips in the police department lobby for residents who need to charge phones or tablets, or just to warm up, police said.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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

[email protected]

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