Sunday’s early season snowstorm may have dropped flakes as far away as South Carolina, but here in Maine – particularly along the midcoast, where I live — we felt its real wrath.
Vicki Doudera here. Fifty miles-per-hour winds and record-breaking snowfall came down all day Sunday and into the night, leaving thousands of downed trees, broken wires, and more than 140,000 homes and businesses without power on Monday.
At our house, the power flickered on and off all afternoon. We were watching the Patriots game with the woodstove fully stoked, and wondering whether we’d manage to see the whole thing. We did – but others lost power just before the game started and had to haul out old transistor radios to hear Peyton Manning’s team get trounced.
On Monday, the skies were blue and the snow had stopped, but downtown Camden was virtually shut down. Without power and with so many dangerous roads, schools and businesses could not open, and even the post office’s door was locked tight. Only Camden National Bank was open, their generator humming away and fresh, hot coffee on tap for all.
The Penobscot Bay YMCA cancelled their programs, but announced they were open with warm showers for anyone needing one. Meanwhile, Camden Hills Regional High School became an emergency warm-up shelter, and Facebook was full of people offering their woodstove-heated homes to those who lacked “back up.” By Wednesday, grocery stores large and small were forced to dispose of spoiled items from freezers and shelves.
“I feel like a pioneer woman,” said one of my friends yesterday. She’d been without power for three days but could still manage a smile. Luckily for Nancy and her husband Marlowe, the trees they lost to the storm fell away from their Colonial, but others here were not so fortunate. The town manager of Rockport narrowly escaped injury when a huge tree smashed through his roof, stopping just inches from his shoulder. He told me that just before that happened, he’d been driving home when another tree just missed his car.
Days later, we are still cleaning up the broken branches, and the snow-covered ground is littered with loose leaves. It’s heartbreaking to see so many damaged trees – not just older ones who simply couldn’t take the wind, but young specimens now uprooted due to unfrozen ground. I walked by one cemetery on Sunday and counted a dozen trees, ripped right from the ground, lying among the quiet graves.
My husband spent yesterday afternoon using his chainsaw to remove damaged limbs from a centuries-old lilac. I had to completely re-do the fence for the chicken coop, but I count myself lucky. The snow should melt by the weekend, and the leaves and limbs will eventually get removed, but the memories of this freakishly early winter storm will linger on.