Blizzard delivers 11in to Portland; woman and dogs survive tree crashing into house
Maine’s first blizzard in years delivered less snow than expected in some places, but there’s still plenty to shovel.
The high winds did not cause widespread power outages as feared, but a house in Raymond was badly damaged when a tree snapped and crashed through the house.
Portland received 11 inches of snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Clair said.
The “most snow” award goes to Bath Brunswick, which received 18 to 20 inches, Clair said. “Lewiston-Auburn got a foot closer and Augusta 14-15 inches closer.”
The blizzard carried heavy bands of snow that were localized at times, which is why some areas received significantly more than others, Clair said. Snow fell all day Saturday. The consistent snow in Portland began around 7 a.m. and continued until 11 p.m., Clair said.
As expected, the late afternoon saw the worst conditions. The storm officially became a blizzard around 2:30 p.m. after three hours of wind gusts over 35 miles per hour, steady snowfall and visibility of less than a quarter mile.
Those conditions actually lasted in Portland for four hours, Clair said. Wind gusts whistled and groaned and peaked at 59 miles per hour in Portland. “You could hear it in the trees,” Clair said.
A home in Raymond was hit by high winds when a large pine tree snapped and crashed directly into a house on Brown Road, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. No one was seriously injured, the sheriff’s office said.
At 3:30 p.m., the tree fell on the house with four occupants and two dogs inside.
The tree fell through the roof, injuring a 45-year-old woman struck by fallen debris, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
“The other occupants pulled her from the wreckage. One of the dogs was safely removed; a second remained trapped in the debris.
The woman suffered minor cuts and bruises, but was not seriously injured, the sheriff’s office said. She was not taken to hospital.
Sheriff’s deputies and Raymond Fire Department rescuers drilled through a window, cleared the debris and found the second dog, who was trapped but not injured. The dog was sleeping in a chair when the tree fell, and the chair was actually preventing the dog from being hit or run over by debris, the sheriff’s office said.
Brown Road was closed for several hours, but was open at 6:30 p.m.
Despite strong gusts of wind, power outages were less than feared, largely because the snow was light and fluffy.
On Saturday evening, Central Maine Power reported that 1,721 of its 661,775 customers in southern and central Maine were without power Saturday. Sunday morning, CMP reported that 376 customers were without power, most in Lincoln County.
“We’ve never had a large number,” CMP spokeswoman Catharine Hartnett said Sunday. “During the day, around 7,800 customers in total were affected. And it wasn’t a spike, it was people losing power and we were restoring it.
The high number of outages that CMP had prepared for did not occur, she said. “It’s great. We didn’t have the number of breakdowns that this level of wind can cause.
For snow lovers, the snow should stay for a while.
“It doesn’t look like we’re having a lot of melt anytime soon. It’s going to stay very cold,” Clair said.
Later in the week, Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures could hit 40 degrees, he said.
“We are seeing another storm this weekend. We don’t know if it will be rain, snow or a mix. This storm could arrive late Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
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