Brent Delnicki works on a line along Fletcher Street in Kennebunk on Tuesday. Delnicki is a lineman with Eastern Maine Electric in Calais and came to Kennebunk to assist the Kennebunk Light & Power District restore power. A damaged feed line to a KLPD substation caused widespread outages in the town. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Efforts to restore power to thousands of Central Maine Power customers in York County continued Tuesday night just hours before another significant winter storm descends on Maine.

Nearly 5,100 customers were still without power as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, with all but two of them in York County, according to CMP’s outage website. Most of those customers in the dark live in Wells, which reported more than 1,800 outages. Other hard-hit communities included the Berwicks and Kennebunk.

“Our crews have been working extremely hard today to make repairs and restore power in York County,” CMP said in a statement issued Tuesday night. “More than 200 line crews have been working in the county today and have made significant progress. Since the onset of the storm, we have restored power to approximately 45,500 of the 51,000 customers that were impacted, and we will continue to work around the clock to restore power to those remaining customers in hardest hit areas by tomorrow afternoon.”

Falling branches and trees took down power lines and blocked roads across southern York County, where wet, heavy snow fell on trees already weighed down from a storm on Friday. Restoration efforts were expected to stretch into Wednesday afternoon.

Nearly all of Wells, South Berwick, North Berwick and Kennebunkport were without power Tuesday morning. More than 32,000 customers were without power early Tuesday – nearly all in York County – but the total number of outages had dropped to 20,000 by midafternoon.

As crews scrambled to restore power, weather forecasters were making a grim prediction about another winter storm that will move into Maine late Wednesday afternoon.


That storm is expected to begin with widespread accumulating snow before turning over to rain or a wintery mix overnight into Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray.

Meteorologist Sarah Thunberg said Portland and coastal areas of southwestern Maine should plan on seeing heavy snowfall starting around 4 p.m. Wednesday with accumulations reaching between 3 and 6 inches of snow by the time the storm ends Thursday morning, but Thunberg warned that communities away from the coast should brace for more snow. Snow accumulation predictions in places such as Fryeburg, Auburn and Augusta could reach 8 to 12 inches.

How much snow a community gets will depend on its proximity to the coast, Thunberg said.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory that takes effect at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will remain in effect through 7 a.m. Thursday. Snow combined with a wintry mix could make for dangerous driving during the Wednesday evening and Thursday morning commutes, the service said.

Because of the widespread outages and roadways blocked by downed trees, the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District canceled classes Tuesday.

Schools also were closed Tuesday in York, North Berwick-based MSAD 60, South Berwick-based MSAD 35 and RSU 21, which serves Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel.


Warming and charging centers were opened in the public safety building in Wells, at the Ogunquit Fire Department and at the South Berwick Community Center. A shelter and warming center also opened Monday night at Kennebunk High School at 89 Fletcher St. It remained open throughout the day Tuesday, according to Kennebunk Fire-Rescue.

The South Berwick shelter remained open Tuesday night with cots available for those who still didn’t have power.

A fallen tree is suspended by power lines on Chapel Road in Wells on Monday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Michael Pardue, the town manager in Wells, said he hasn’t seen such widespread outages since the ice storm of 1998. In a situation like this, he said, it’s nice to see neighbors helping neighbors. The police department has been checking on seniors and giving people rides to the warming center if needed, he said.

“We all come together in times like this,” he said.


Pardue said a significant number of roads were blocked in town on Monday and town crews are still working Tuesday to open them as CMP determines lines are no longer active. Town crews also are clearing snow from roads as fast as they can, despite long hours over the past couple days.


“They’re trying to catch a little break when they can while they prepare for the next storm,” Pardue said.

York County bore the brunt of the damage from Monday’s storm due to prolonged heavy, wet snow that combined with leftover snow from Friday’s storm to cause extensive tree damage throughout the area making travel and restoration efforts difficult on Monday, said Jonathan Breed, a CMP spokesperson.

“Yesterday’s storm continued to impact southern Maine late into the evening. We have 217 line crews in York County this morning with more arriving today,” CMP President Joe Purington said in a statement Tuesday. “While we expect to make significant progress today there may be some customers who will remain without power into tomorrow in the hardest hit areas. We appreciate our customers’ patience as our crews continue to make repairs and restore power.”

The Amtrak Downeaster canceled several trains Monday and Tuesday due to the impact of the storm, which began Sunday night and didn’t stop until Monday night and brought more than a foot of snow to some parts of southern Maine.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story

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