Blizzard hits Midcoast; Schools, businesses, municipal offices closed; Route 1 closed due to tractor-trailer crash; more than 1,000 without power
Route 1 in Waldoboro was closed after four tractor-trailers jack-knifed in whiteout conditions, according to Portland's WGME-13. All plowing operations in Waldoboro have been halted because of the hazardous weather conditions.
Just before noon Monday, Feb. 13, the Knox County Emergency Management Agency issued the following warning: "We are experiencing whiteout conditions over much of the county. Winds are gusting into the 50’s. We’ve received word some plow crews are being pulled off the road until it is again safe for them to resume plowing. We’re strongly encouraging residents to stay off the road. They should stay home or stay where they are until this blizzard abates."
Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said state plow drivers have been given the authority to pull off the road when they determine that the conditions are too severe. He said the intensity of the storm and the reduced visibility makes it nearly impossible to safely drive.
He said drivers are concerned that they will not be able to see abandoned vehicles on the sides of the roads.
"We cannot urge motorists more to stay off the road," he said.
The latest forecase from Tyler Southard, VStv chief meteorologist follows: A Blizzard Warning remains in effect for Midcoast Maine until 7 p.m. Monday.
A rapidly intensifying area of low pressure drifting through the Gulf of Maine is bringing blizzard conditions to the Midcoast Monday with heavy snow and strong wind.
Snow began falling across the Midcoast Sunday evening and was relatively light at first, with about 4 to 6 inches by midnight. Snow continued to fall during the overnight hours, with many locations seeing around a foot of snow by daybreak. The storm quickly intensified through Monday morning, pushing in the heaviest of the snow with 2- to 4-inch-per-hour snowfall rates observed. North wind also increased during this period with winds gusting out of the north between 40 and 50 mph across the Midcoast and 60 to 70 mph for Penobscot Bay and outlying islands. The combination of strong wind and and heavy snow resulted in low to no visibility, making for treacherous travel conditions. Plow operations for some municipalities have been halted Monday due to the dangerous conditions.
Heavy snow will continue through the afternoon and then begin to taper off into the evening and early nighttime hours as the storm slowly pulls away to the east. Most locations across the Midcoast will receive 18 to 26 inches of total snow, with locally higher amounts where heavy snow bands have set up. The wind has made for an uneven distribution of the snow locally with large drifts in some spots and bare ground in others. Winds will remain strong into the early night then taper off into Tuesday morning, allowing for additional blowing and drifting snow despite snowfall coming to an end.
Tuesday will be a mostly sunny and quiet day with lighter north winds and highs in the 20s, allowing for a period of clean up after this potent storm clears. This break doesn't last long, as another winter storm is forecast to move in during the late morning hours on Wednesday with snow and wintry mix lingering into Thursday with additional snow accumulations of 6 inches or more possible.
As of 12:30 p.m. Monday, Central Maine Power reported 482 customers without power in Knox County, 374 in Waldo County, and 208 in Lincoln County. Visit cmpco.com/outages/outageinformation.html for more info.
Additional closings and cancellations for Monday, Feb. 13:
Rockport Public Library will be closed.
Rockport Town Office will be closed.
The office of the Knox County Administrator and Knox County Courthouse will be closed.
St. George Town Office and transfer station will be closed.
Camden Town Offices will be closed.
Camden Public Library will be closed.
Rockland City Council Meetings scheduled for Monday have been postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 14. The Special Meeting Executive Session will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Regular Monthly Meeting at 6 p.m.
Eastern Tire & Auto Service will be closed.
Warren Town Office will be closed.
South Thomaston Town Office will be closed.
Lincolnville Town Office will be closed, and the Board of Selectmen's meeting will be postponed.
The Rockport Select Board meeting scheduled for Feb. 13 has been cancelled.
The Knox County Republican Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 14, is cancelled. The next meeting is Tuesday, March 14.
The Monday Night Blues concert by Joe Nemeth in Rockland is canceled Feb. 13.
Camden Hills Regional High School's annual Dessert Cabaret will be held on its snow date, Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Other cancellations may be found by clicking the Bulletins banner. This story will be updated as further information is received.