December 10, 2012

Slipping, sliding, but no major accidents during messy Monday weather

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

Cars slid off roads and into each other all around central Maine Monday, but no major accidents were reported as part of the first major storm of the season.

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Kennebec County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jacob Pierce investigates a truck rollover, after the vehicle slipped off the ice- and slush-covered Route 139 in Benton, on Monday. The uninjured driver is at right.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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Hiram Cochran spreads salt Monday on the driveway of his Augusta home. Slick conditions greeted drivers across the state after rain and snow fell overnight, with icy mist persisting throughout the day. Cochran said he likes to keep the entrance to his home free of ice to accommodate getting the mail.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Sheriffs' dispatchers in Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin counties said icy roads from snow, sleet and freezing rain produced accidents, but none with serious injuries. A tractor-trailer in Sandy River Plantation couldn't get up a hill, prompting a call to state police, according to one dispatcher.

As much as three inches of snow fell Monday in Phillips, in Franklin County, and North Anson in Somerset County, but less than an inch fell in Waterville and to its south, according to Tom Hawley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

Temperatures on the coast were above freezing, he said.

Today is expected to be fairly nice, he said. It will start out cloudy but the sun is expected to come out by afternoon and temperatures should be in the mid to upper 30s, Hawley said.

"It should get above freezing, but it'll feel colder because of the wind and dry air," he said.

The rest of the week is expected to be fairly sunny and seasonably cold.

"It doesn't appear we'll see anything as far as stormy weather goes until possibly late in the week -- late Sunday or Monday -- when there could be another mixed precipitation type of storm like we're experiencing now," Hawley said. "Nothing that would be purely snow."

Cold air will then move in and there could be a bigger storm next week, with snow changing to rain, he said. Between now and Dec. 23, temperatures are expected to be above normal, he said.

"Beyond that, it's hard to say," he said.

Central Maine was drier than normal between September and November, and precipitation during that time was below normal, Hawley said.

But with the snow that fell in early November, the amount of snowfall received is about normal for this time of year, he said.

Meanwhile, many schools across central Maine were closed Monday, but Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools in Alternative Organizational Structure 92 remained open.

Waterville Public Works Director Mark Turner said just before noon that crews had returned from the roads and were out clearing sidewalks.

"I think we've treated everything," Turner said. "The roads are good, the temperature's coming up and everything's melting away."

Sanding crews went out around 3 a.m. Monday and the rest of the workers headed out around 7 a.m., he said.

Public works crews were ready for Monday's storm and had sanded roads Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights because of precipitation and cold temperatures causing roads to be slippery, according to Turner.

He cautioned people to be aware that roads may be slippery even if they may not appear so.

"Even fog sometimes will cause roads to be glazed over," he said. "This time of year, with any sign of moisture on the road and temperatures dropping, especially toward night time, people want to be careful," he said.

He said pedestrians also need to be careful on roads and sidewalks.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247


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Additional Photos

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John Smith moves a limb Monday from the lawn of his mother-in-law's Augusta home. Smith said the late fall weather is "not bad this year."

Staff photo by Andy Molloy


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