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Updated: April 5, 2024

Spring storm brings snow, wind, rain — and more power outages

power crew Photo / Peter Van Allen A line crew on the move in Yarmouth, which was among the towns with widespread power outages on April 4.

A double-barreled spring storm unloaded high winds and more than a foot of heavy snow on many parts of Maine, sparking widespread power outages on Thursday into Friday.

The storm, which came on the heels of a March 23 storm that knocked out power to more than a quarter million customers in Maine, combined the power of two low pressure systems, one coming in from the west and another churning up the Atlantic coast. 

Central Maine Power reported that close to 350,000 customers were without power at some point, exceeding the number that lost power in the March storm.

By mid-morning Friday, CMP had restored power to 120,000 customers. In Cumberland County, 78,414 customers were still without power, and 27,778 customers in Androscoggin County were also without it.

CMP said most of the damage was caused by falling trees and limbs weighted down by wet snow combined with strong winds.

To address the fallen power lines, CMP deployed 450 line crews and 250 tree crews. 

“The damage from these fallen trees is significant and our arborists have observed that this is some of the worst snow loading on trees they have seen in more than a decade,” said Jon Breed, spokesperson for CMP.

“Hundreds of additional line and tree crews are en route to Maine to support the more than 450 external line crews and 250 tree crews already deployed in the field. We are also coordinating the use of cranes to remove large hazard trees in some areas.”

CMP serves 646,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It operates 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines.

“We’re continuing to make good progress,” Breed told Mainebiz by phone on Friday morning.

During the height of the storm on Thursday, crews prioritized hospitals, emergency response, certain public areas, trees blocking roads, power lines on vehicles as well as the transmission system, he said.

“We should have the transmission system wrapped up today,” he said.

Some of the harder-hit areas may not have power restored until early next week, he said.

As for Greater Portland, Breed said “you’ll see progress today and tomorrow,” but said it was too early to give specific timeframes by geographic area.

“Right now we’re probably 36 hours into this event with really only 12 hours of good weather,” he said.

Downeast outages

Versant Power reported 5,667 customers without power as of 8 a.m. Friday, with Hancock and Washington counties hit the hardest.

"We've moved crews to those areas for cleanup and repairs and expect to have most all customers restored by 10 p.m. tonight," Versant spokeswoman Marissa Minor told Mainebiz via email.

"There will likely be a few exceptions with customers in remote areas. Roads will be slippery today, so we ask motorists to please be mindful that crews are out working and give them plenty of space to work safely."

Many schools closed

Road crews were also hard at work plowing the heavy snow. With rain mixing in Friday morning and temps just above freezing in many places, roads were passable.  

Many school districts remained closed on Friday.

Operations at state offices were delayed, but scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Friday.

Slope side 

Ski resorts rejoiced at the additional snow.

In its mountain report of Friday morning, Sugarloaf reported that it had 18 inches of fresh snow. 

Pleasant Mountain said it was closed Friday, but planned to reopen Saturday. The resort said it had received 12 to 16 inches of new snow, with more coming. Pleasant Mountain planned to remain open through the weekend, and on Monday will host an eclipse barbecue at the mountain's summit.

At Sunday River, the resort reported 14 inches of new snow as of Friday morning, and plans to stay open through April 28. 

All three resorts are owned by Boyne. 

Home opener postponed

The Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, has pushed back the season opener, postponing both Friday and Saturday games, a spokesman told Mainebiz. The team had been scheduled to open the season Friday night against the Hartford Yard Goats. 

 Editor's Note: Renee Cordes contributed to this report.

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