A car drives through standing water in Deering Oaks on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. Ben McCanna/Staff photographer

The third winter storm to hit Maine in a week brought almost a foot of heavy snow to interior sections and lesser amounts of wet snow followed by rain in coastal areas that caused roof collapses and force two retailers to close.

Two big box retail stores in Scarborough were evacuated Thursday morning after a buildup of melting snow and rain caused widespread roof leaks and possible structural damage at a Walmart.

The Walmart Supercenter on Gallery Boulevard and Sam’s Club on Payne Road closed after roofs leaked and some interior structural shifting was observed at the Walmart, according to Deputy Fire Chief John Brennan.

In addition to the scares at the retailers, a barn in the town of Union collapsed overnight killing five cows. The Green Meadow Farms’ cattle barn collapsed early Thursday morning with about 50 cows and pigs inside. Most of the animals were rescued except for the five cows.

In the neighboring town of Washington, an attached garage on North Union Road collapsed Thursday morning under the weight of snow that slid off the roof of the adjacent home. No injuries were reported and the home was not damaged.

Mahaney Sports Dome at the University of Maine on Thursday. Photo by Jake Twigg

In Orono, the University of Maine reported that an inflatable indoor practice facility used by student athletes collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. It was at least the fourth time The Mahaney Dome has collapsed since it was erected in 2006.


Athletic officials said no one was hurt Thursday morning when the dome came down. The university is evaluating whether it can be repaired.

The heavy snow also caused the inflatable roof of a popular indoor sports facility in Topsham to collapse Thursday morning. The owners of The Dome at Coastal Maine Storm said in a Facebook post that the damage looks “irreparable.”

Deputy Chief Brennan said both Scarborough stores’ drainage systems were working, but were apparently overwhelmed by the weight of accumulated snow, saturated by the rain that fell overnight.

A door to the Topsham sports dome pokes out from the snow after the dome collapsed under weight of snow and ice on Thursday. Directors of the indoor sports facility said the inflatable structure is “irreparable.” Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Brennan said fire and rescue crews responded to the Walmart after receiving a 911 call just after 10 a.m.

“Walmart employees noticed some shifting inside the building and were concerned,” Brennan said. Some ceiling tiles were twisted and tiles fell to the floor in the deli area. Water leaks developed near skylights, but the roof remained intact.

A roofing crew was called in and cleared the roof of snow and water, and an engineer deemed the building safe. Brennan said the Sam’s Club building was still being evaluated when fire department crews left the scene around 4 p.m.


“How and when they reopen is entirely up to them,” Brennan said of the two stores.

Maine has been battered by three significant winter storms in the past week, causing widespread power outages in York County and slippery roads resulting in dozens of crashes and slide-offs.

The first storm blew into the state on Jan. 19, dropping 8 inches of snow in Portland. The second arrived Sunday and dropped another 8 inches in Portland by the time it ended Monday.

Wednesday night’s storm brought less snow, but rain and freezing rain in coastal areas caused minor road flooding where storm drains are clogged with snow. Some inland areas saw nearly a foot of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

Snow totals reported by the weather service include 7.5 inches in Sebago, 4 inches in Portland, 6.5 inches in Cornish and 2 inches in Kennebunk.

Thursday’s wintry mix also made for dangerous travel in some regions. State police reported Thursday afternoon that a tractor-trailer traveling south on the Maine Turnpike near Etna lost control around 6 a.m. and went off the road. The driver was not injured.


Moving the trailer was expected to take about four hours, and would not be done until Friday morning, state police said.

Heavy rain falls as Casco Bay Lines workers, clad in foul-weather gear, prepare the Machigonne II ferry to depart Peaks Island for its 6:15 a.m. run to Portland on Thursday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Heavy, wet snow and winds gusting to 50 mph were expected to cause power outages late Thursday in Hancock and Washington counties, the Maine Emergency Management Agency warned. Temperatures were expected to dip into the single digits Thursday night, causing roads to freeze.

State offices in Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, Hancock and Washington counties were closed Thursday. State offices in the remaining counties opened late at 11 a.m.

Central Maine Power was reporting about 5,300 outages across its service area late Thursday afternoon, down from more than 10,000 earlier in the day. The majority of those, about 2,600, were in Kennebec County.

During Monday’s storm, more than 32,000 customers – nearly all in York County – lost power. Some customers were without power until Wednesday as CMP and tree crews removed downed trees and branches that took down power lines and blocked roads.

Mostly quiet weather is expected Friday into the weekend before a weak system approaches Sunday bringing mostly light snow with rain showers more likely across the far south. Another substantial system is possible midweek, according to the weather service.

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