In the Wake of a November Nor’easter

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.

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7 Responses to In the Wake of a November Nor’easter

  1. Mary Anne Sullivan says:

    I’m so sorry for friends & family in Maine who endured this storm. I remember the trauma of downed trees and no power for days. In fact, 2 years ago during Hurricane Sandy, my neighbor’s tree came down and smashed out my bedroom window. Hope winter will be kinder this year.

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  2. And yet, here on the Christmas tree farm in the Western Maine foothills, we had only about an hour where the sky was spitting snow and no accumulation whatsoever. Pretty good wind, though. Sympathy to everyone on the coast who lost power and/or had trees down. We’d have been happy to have the snow here instead. The ski areas are already chomping at the bit to open for the season. Instead, yesterday, my husband gave the lawn one last mow before changing the mower deck on the John Deere to the snow blower attachment. You know what they say about Maine: Don’t like the weather? Just wait a minute.

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  3. My sympathies to all of you struggling with the aftereffects of this storm. Back in ’08, we went through an ice storm and were without power for 8 days. It was tough, but it renewed our ties with neighbors and made us appreciate how good we have it most of the time. Best of all, I got a nice short story out of it.

    I hope you come out fine and can use some of the experience in your work. Anyone who needs a hot shower or even a warm bed is welcome here, if you can make the trip.

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  4. Barb Ross says:

    Oh, Vicki. I hate snowstorms that come when the leaves are still on the trees. Be well and stay warm and I’ll see you this weekend.

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  5. Ruth Nixon says:

    Maine’s on my bucket list but for now glad to be in sunny warm California.

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  6. Linda Meadows says:

    We live just 30 minutes or so south of there and we did not get hit nearly as badly with the snow, but the wind did it’s damage. Combined with the soggy ground there were many trees and telephone poles leaning dangerously, and some houses were damaged by falling trees. We kept our power all day, losing it at 11:30 pm. I love reading by candlelight, alone in an otherwise dark house, especially when it’s a murder mystery! Life returned to it’s normal routines here by Monday morning. But this is only the beginning I’m afraid. Stock up on batteries everyone!

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  7. Wow, Vicki, I don’t think of y’all in Maine, getting punched out by a storm. My sense is you can withstand anyything. To see the lovely town of Camden this way is sad. I love that the Bank was open and handing out coffee and you could get showers at the Y. I guess that is the good thing about bad weather stories. People you might not expect step up to help, do Glad you’re okay. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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