Major spring snowstorm hits Maine, disrupts power to more than 253 000 customers, U.S.


A powerful spring snowstorm pounded Maine, U.S., on Thursday night, April 9, 2020, causing hundreds of road accidents and disrupting power to more than 253 000 customers. As of Friday morning, April 10, around 247 000 remain without power. The majority of the outages are in the counties Androscoggin, Franklin, Cumberland, Waldo, Kennebec, and York.

"We fully expected this," said CMP spokeswoman Catharine Hartnett. "We’ve been talking to customers for two days about preparing for this storm."

100 CMP crews and 130 contractors will be working on Friday to restore the electricity. To abide by the guidelines for working amid the coronavirus pandemic, the crew members will be maintaining distance.

"One thing that we’ve asked is that with people at home, sometimes they will approach the crews and get a little too close. That’s never good. Please respect the safety of all our crews," Hartnett advised.

Emera Maine also asked people to remain indoors as they fix power services. "We know you rely on us while you stay safe at home. We're prepared for this storm, and we ask you to prepare as well."

Meanwhile, state police said hundreds of road accidents occurred during the storm, but spokesman Steve McCausland said there were no major injuries and problems. There were reports of overturned vehicles in Poland, Oxford, and Sabattus.

News Center Maine meteorologist Todd Gutner said this storm is elevation-dependent and could match some of the heaviest snow of the winter season. Power lines were knocked down by wet and heavy snow.

Some areas in Maine reportedly received more than 0.3 m (1 foot) of snow. 

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Eric Schwibs said gusty winds may still pose more risks, even though the storm will be exiting the area Friday morning.

"The storm is starting to exit this morning, but we're going to have gusty winds behind it, which may slow the power restoration efforts a little bit."

"It's not overly cold out because it's not the dead of winter, but, you know, tonight's low temperatures – Friday night – are only going to be the upper 20s to lower 30s," Schwibs added.

"So it's not going to be bitterly cold, but the longer you go without power the more issues you're going to have with people being in their homes."

A winter storm warning is in place for Maine until 22:00 UTC (18:00 LT) Friday.

Threats for severe storms ad flash flooding will push eastward across the Southern Plains through Saturday, April 11, before a significant outbreak of severe storm systems– including strong winds and tornadoes– are likely across a wide swath of the Southeast by Sunday, April 12, according to NWS.

Featured image credit: @psumet51Twitter

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