A fast-moving and intense storm moved across Maine on Wednesday, covering roads and highways with fresh snow and prompting schools, businesses and government offices to shut down early.

The storm intensified Wednesday afternoon in Greater Portland, with snow falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour. Roads were slippery and visibility was poor in whiteout conditions. Toward evening, the heavy snow changed over to rain and sleet along the coast.

As of 10:18 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service in Gray reported that 6.6 inches of snow had fallen at the Portland International Jetport.

Snowfall was heavy in other southern Maine communities as well, with Bridgton getting the prize for the most accumulation at 8.5 inche,s followed by Standish with 7.4 inches. Hollis in York County got 6 inches, Yarmouth received 5.7 inches, 5 inches fell in Westbrook, 5.7 inches was reported in Scarborough and Bath got 6 inches..

The changeover may have contributed to an accident in Saco, according to police. Officers closed Route 112 between Grant Road in Saco and Squire Libby Road in Buxton around 7 p.m. following a vehicle crash. The road reopened at 8:20 p.m. but no other details were available.

Chris Kimble, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the changeover to rain and sleet affected coastal towns in York County as well as Portland. Inland areas were dealing with all snow.

Heavy snow began falling in Greater Portland by shortly after noon and roads were quickly coated. Driving conditions were poor during the Wednesday evening commute.

Maine State Police said that at 4:40 p.m. a tractor-trailer truck crashed on the northbound side of the Maine Turnpike between Sabattus and the West Gardiner toll at mile 100, forcing police to close northbound lanes for nearly two hours.

Speed limits on the turnpike were reduced to 45 mph shortly after noon. Police responded to a report of a jackknifed tractor-trailer in Androscoggin County, among other accidents, although no serious injuries were reported.

All state offices closed by 3 p.m., and many schools, municipal offices and businesses in southern Maine had closed by 1 p.m.

The storm also produced a power outage affecting Central Maine Power Co. customers in Brunswick and Harpswell.

Nearly 2,600 homes and businesses lost power as of 1:50 p.m., according to Central Maine Power Co.’s website. But as of 4 p.m., power had been restored to most customers.

CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice said the Brunswick outage was caused by a tree falling on power lines near a Brunswick substation.

“The tree took out everything on that circuit including Harpswell Neck,” Rice said. The only other outages in CMP’s system as of 6:30 p.m. were 16 homes in the town of Boothbay.

More outages were reported Wednesday night as tree limbs began to ice up. CMP reported 443 outages at 8:15 p.m., with most concentrated in Kittery, Boothbay, Bremen and Bristol.

Portland announced a citywide parking ban from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Parking bans were also in effect in several towns that included: Brunswick, Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Gorham, Yarmouth, Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, Saco, Sanford, Lisbon, Topsham, Auburn and Windham.

Portland and Lewiston were among the school districts that canceled school for the day. Schools in Kittery, Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, Georgetown, Sanford, Regional School Unit 5 in Freeport, Wiscasset, Wells-Ogunquit and Yarmouth had early class dismissals. The University of Southern Maine closed at 12:15 p.m.

Many city and town halls, including in Portland and South Portland, closed at noon or 1 p.m.

Cumberland County District and Superior Courts as well as the Maine Supreme Judicial Court also closed Wednesday. The Maine Legislature postponed all committee meetings scheduled after noon.

The Portland jetport reported several flights were canceled Wednesday. Concord Coach Lines announced buses scheduled to travel between Maine and Boston were canceled starting at 2:50 p.m. A complete list of cancellations is available on the company’s website.

The storm did not force Amtrak Downeaster to cancel any trips from Portland to Boston on Wednesday.

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

[email protected]