A powerful early spring snowstorm on Saturday blanketed most of Maine with heavy wet snow – more than a foot in northern and mountain areas – and made driving conditions treacherous.

More than 5 inches of snow were recorded at the Portland International Jetport by 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service office in Gray, although precipitation had switched over to freezing rain by the afternoon. Snowfall totals were higher inland, where almost 8.5 inches fell in Bridgton and at least 6 inches in Falmouth. Farther north, many communities had received 12 inches or more, and snow was still falling early Saturday evening.

Maine State Police had responded to more than 130 crashes and slide-offs on Interstates 95 and 295, mostly in southern Maine, by Saturday night. Only a few involved minor injuries, and there were no major road closures, authorities said.

“Our advice is the same as in all storms,” State Police spokesperson Shannon Moss said in an email. “Drive slow, leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you, stay off the phone and stay home if at all possible.”

One truck driver in Readfield crashed head-on into a plow truck and ended up in an inlet of Maranacook Lake.

Power outages had been minimal across the state throughout the day but increased substantially in the evening hours, to more than 36,000 by 8:30 p.m., nearly all in York and Cumberland County.


The early-spring snowstorm coincided with Maine Maple Sunday weekend, a long-awaited affair for sugarhouses around the state. Many were nonetheless open Saturday.

“Mainers are a pretty hardy bunch, and a little bit of snow won’t bother them too much,” said Lyle Merrifield, the president of the Maine Maple Producers Association.

Merrifield said his family’s farm in Gorham treated Saturday like a “soft opening.” Normally, the weekend brings a mile of cars parked along the streets leading to Merrifield Farm. That didn’t happen this year because of the snow-filled roadway. Merrifield said the farm also canceled its pancake breakfast and offered free admission to its museum to get people out of the cold.

He anticipated that Sunday’s crowd would likely make up for Saturday.

“Between the people who held back (Saturday), plus our normal crowd, we’ll have more than enough (Sunday), I think,” he said.

Maggie Morgan, of Bowdoinham, pulls off her hood as she comes in from Saturday’s storm during Maine Maple Sunday weekend at Maple Rush Sugar House in Sabattus. “We never miss Maine Maple Weekend,” Morgan said. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Scott Dunn from Dunn Family Maple in Buxton said the storm had slowed down crowds there, too, forcing him to move some activities inside.


But Dunn said Maple Sunday is too important to miss. It brings people from all over New England to Maine, and sugarhouses throughout the state look forward to selling their products.

“There’s not another way to make up for this weekend,” Dunn said.

The National Weather Service office in Gray had predicted that southern Maine would see anywhere from 3 to 6 inches before the storm transitioned into freezing rain that should clear out Sunday morning.

By the end of February, Maine had recorded only half the snow it usually gets. The state had only received about 24 inches from December to February, according to the National Weather Service, compared to the historical average of 51 inches for those months.

The winter’s biggest snowstorm in the Portland area was 12.8 inches during a storm Jan. 7, but that was mostly wiped out just days later by heavy rains.

The same thing was expected to happen along the coast Saturday night.


The city of Portland was not planning a parking ban for Saturday night but was offering a flat $3 snow ban parking rate for the Spring and Elm street garages. The rates were for anyone who entered after 5 p.m. Saturday and left by 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

Asked if Portland offered specific services for homeless people during the storm, city spokesperson Jessica Grondin replied, “We have capacity at the homeless services center thanks to an additional 50 beds approved by the (city) council. We do twice daily outreach to our partners to help fill these beds.”

The storm led to some cancellations. Concord Coach Lines canceled several north and southbound trips in Bangor, central Maine and Portland on Saturday; however, the company had not canceled any trips scheduled to Boston. Some flights at Portland International Jetport were canceled or delayed.


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