Utility crews restored power to thousands of homes and businesses in coastal and southern Maine on Monday as the cleanup continued after an ice storm Saturday night that brought down trees, branches and power lines.

The early spring storm dumped up to 2 feet of snow in some parts of the state, while a mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet blanketed coastal areas in a layer of ice, bringing down trees, limbs and power lines and closing dozens of roads across southern Maine over the weekend.

Power outages peaked at 198,745 on Sunday morning, CMP spokesperson Jonathan Breed said. The number of customers without power was down to just over 7,000 as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and all but 3 Versant Power customers were awaiting service.

Cumberland County was hit particularly hard. Nearly half of CMP’s 177,000-plus Cumberland County customers were without power early Sunday, and service was out for more than 46,000 CMP customers in York County.

“Cumberland County has experienced high winds and snow like that before, but the transition from rain to ice happened incredibly fast,” said Michael Durkin, director of the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency.

“It was significant,” he said. “For this event, it was largely the transition from rain into ice and the speed with which that happened. Really fast. If the water’s not given a place to go, it’s largely going to stay on the trees. Tree limbs get heavy and start to fall.”


CMP had restored power to nearly 50% of its impacted customers by early Monday morning, though 103,000 were still in the dark.

On Monday, 400 line crews and 300 tree crews worked across CMP’s coverage area, Breed said. Another 50 line crews were expected to arrive from Canada and Vermont.

“Our goal is to restore as many customers as we can by Tuesday evening,” Breed said. “Some customers in harder to reach areas or where there is more damage could go into Wednesday.”

The utility deployed a total of 902 crews, including 478 bucket trucks, 91 digger trucks that dig holes to install power poles and 333 “vegetation management crews” that chop up trees blocking roads, Breed said.

“We had good staffing levels going into this,” he said.

CMP started assessing damage Sunday morning after being delayed Saturday night because of dangerous conditions, Breed said. Crews also responded to over 250 emergency calls, including people trapped in their cars by downed power lines, he said.


CMP responded only to emergency calls Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight because roads were iced and too hazardous, Breed said.

Source: Central Maine Power

On Sunday, the company responded to 775 emergency calls about blocked roads and downed power lines from local emergency management agencies.

The company prioritized substation and transmission line restorations, the backbone of its system and the most effective way to restore power to large groups of customers. Breed said Monday morning that the substation and transmission line work has been completed.

The company had not posted estimated restoration times on its website as of Monday morning. The “assessing” status listed for customers “means our crews are in the field making power lines safe and establishing work plans to get your circuit back online,” the company said in a Facebook post Sunday night. A single outage may require multiple visits from arborists, pole diggers and line workers, CMP said.

“There is a lot of damage out there,” Breed said. “Some customers may go directly from assessing to restored. We’re restoring and assessing at the same time in some places.”

Megan Arsenault, deputy director of the York County Emergency Management Agency, said there was widespread damage across York County from the storm, including in cities that don’t typically lose power for extended periods. While utility companies made significant progress restoring power, “there is still a ways to go” in some areas, including Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunk and Lebanon, she said.


Cost estimates have not been tallied, though some numbers will be available in a few months, Breed said. An accounting will not be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission until March 1, 2025. The utility early this month submitted a request to recoup $162 million for damage caused by three storms last year.


The ice storm that blasted the state this weekend was more destructive than expected.

CMP staged crews Friday night, preparing for heavy snow inland. But that did not bear out, Breed said. The utility knew of the potential for ice on the coast and “that did bear out,” he said.

Hendricus Lulofs, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, said the worst icing conditions were from about 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Forecasters tried to pinpoint as closely as possible the mix between freezing rain, which starts as snowflakes melting on the way down, and sleet, which freezes when it hits a surface.


“The trick on it was how much would fall as sleet versus freezing rain,” he said.

The weather service forecast the highest amounts of freezing rain of a quarter inch to a half-inch up to the Midcoast and in the Portland area, Lulofs said.

Instead, three-fourths of an inch was recorded at the Portland International Jetport, he said.

Freezing rain has a greater impact, Lulofs said, accumulating on tree branches and wires that often fall under the weight.


Arsenault, of the York County Emergency Management Agency, said people in areas without power should know where warming centers are so they can get out of the cold.


“It’s been a couple days for some areas without power and obviously safety is the highest priority,” she said. “If folks aren’t able to get warm or stay safe at home, they should know where those are.”

Communities hit hardest by outages opened warming shelters where people could stop in to warm up and charge electronics. Portland opened a warming shelter at the East End Community School on Sunday and Monday. A warming and charging center at the Scarborough Public Safety Building was scheduled to reopen Monday.

Ginger Hicklin her eldest son, Oscar, 9, in the gymnasium at the Mason-Motz Activity Center on Monday. Hicklin came to the warming and charging center with her two sons who were able to play basketball in the gym while she caught up with things on her computer. Hicklin said she and her family arrived home Sunday evening from a weekend at Sugarloaf to find they had no power. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

A warming center with showers and charging stations was opened at the Brunswick Recreation Center and will reopen on Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. On Chebeague Island, the Island Hall Community Center was being used as a warming center.

Warming centers were also available on Monday at Falmouth Town Hall, Freeport Community Center and the Mason-Motz Activity Center in Falmouth.

In York County, a warming center opened at the Old Orchard Beach Recreation Department on Ballpark Way. The Saco Community Center on Franklin Street opened as a warming shelter and warming centers also opened in West Kennebunk and Lebanon.

Schools in Portland, Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, West Bath, Westbrook, Yarmouth and MSAD 51 were closed Monday because of power outages.

Staff Writer Kay Neufeld contributed to this report.

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