Blizzard hits Midcoast; Schools, businesses, municipal offices closed; Route 1 closed due to tractor-trailer crash; more than 1,000 without power

Feb 13, 2017
Courtesy of: WGME Truck crash causes road closure on Route 1

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.

Camden Street in Rockland Monday morning. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Drifts bury vehicles in Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
High winds and heavy snowfall make keeping roads clear nearly impossible as evident on Hatchet Mountain Road in Hope at about 11 a.m. Feb. 13. (Photo by: Kim Lincoln)
As much trouble as the storm is causing, the beauty of it all can't be beat. (Photo by: Kim Lincoln)
Porch chairs began to fill with snow on Feb. 12. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Snow accumulates against a pair of sliding doors in Hope on Feb. 13. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
A driveway in Hope is transformed into a winter wonderland on Feb. 13. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
A Union Street resident in Rockland finds the coast clear to get out and shovel out. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Rockland Public Works crews begin the cleanup process on South Main Street. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
It was a group effort on Crescent Street in Rockland following a break in the blizzard Feb. 13. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Vehicles with snow-removing equipment are the only ones spotted mid-afternoon Monday on Route 1 in Thomaston. (Photo by: Dagney C.Ernest)
Mid-afternoon Monday, the skies brighten enough to entice one intrepid Thomaston family out for a short stroll. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
At midday Monday, the eye can see barely half-way down Georges Street in Thomaston (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
With hours of snow to go, people in Thomaston begin the digging-out process (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
A seasonal home is wrapped with a wintery week's worth of snow Feb. 13 … and more to come. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
The digging out starts with steps. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
A Rockland neighborhood seems to disappear just beyond the trees. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The window ledge catches a drift during the blizzard. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
A plow truck tries to clear Pearl Street in Camden mid-afternoon on Monday. Snow drifts formed quickly afterward. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
A sidewalk on Elm Street in Camden had become a ski trail Monday afternoon. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Huge icicles hang from the eaves of the Sea Dog Brewing Company in Camden on Monday afternoon amid high winds and massive snow drifts. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
The Midcoast received snow measured in feet Monday, Feb. 13 (Courtesy of: VStv)
Local radar at mid-day Monday shows a powerful Nor'easter swirling offshort. (Courtesy of: VStv)
Rockland's Main Street was cleared to one lane late afternoon Feb. 13. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Lake View Driver in Rockland was clear late afternoon despite the blowing winds. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Whatever apparatus was available on North Main Street in Rockland was put to use late afternoon Feb. 13. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Streets were being cleared and activity was returning to downtown Camden after 4 p.m. Monday. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Streets were mostly cleared and Mount Battie was visible from downtown Camden in the late afternoon Feb. 13. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Comments (5)
Posted by: SUSAN THOMAS | Feb 14, 2017 06:53

Wonderful Kendall! I remember that storm well. Skowhegan was buried and we were skiing down Madison Ave on State Route 201. It started as this last did with fine snow and just kept going and going. A bakery in Fairfield had baked bread but could not deliver so they gave it away to anyone who showed up.



Posted by: PETER LAMMERT | Feb 13, 2017 20:34

Parents, please remind those of your children who still go outside after a snow storm to dig tunnels and make forts in the huge snow piles at the street ends of driveways, that plowing and pushing back of the edges of the roads will go on for several days, possibly right to the next storm and these tunnels and forts are not a safe playground. Drivers cannot see what is inside those piles.

Yours for a safe winter.

Regards, Pete Lammert,Thomaston



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 13, 2017 15:28

I remember storms of this depth in 1953, I believe,  when I first came to Hope, Maine. I remember the drifts and road closures. No choice but to stay home. Such beauty! But stops industry for sure.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 13, 2017 06:47

Thanks for the memories, Kendall. Always appreciate your poetry.  You are fortunate to live in that same home all these years later.  Saw an artist's picture of it yesterday on Facebook.

 



Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Feb 12, 2017 18:16

THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF '52

I came down sick

on a Friday night

just as it started to snow

next week was vacation

and promised much

but not for me in bed

with some infection or other

I remember some dark figure

walking down the street in snow

I could just see out

the under eave window

it snowed for three days

that time

17" to 24'

I've even heard men speak of it

to this day

the wind whipped the snow so high

when it stopped

tunnels were dug

out front of the house

the best fortress weather

of my whole childhood

I was in bed til Friday

when finally, my mother

let me stagger into

melting late February sunlight

that made the tunnels

too unsafe to enter

we saw John Wayne movies

that Saturday

free from the American Legion

but what could

The Sands of Iwo Jima

compare with the snow

on Mechanic Street

now gone

-Kendall Merriam, Rockland's Inaugural Poet Laureate



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