Winter Weather Closes Maine Schools and Offices, Leads to Crashes

Like much of New England, Maine was hit by sleet, snow and ice Friday

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Friday's storm brought an all-day mess of sleet, snow and ice to just about all of Maine.

The exact kind of slush or snow pile you found yourself in depended on how close or far you were from the ocean.

Coastal areas like Portland saw sleet that fell so hard at times, it was coming out of downspouts. Interior Maine, including the state's mountains, got around or more than a foot of pure snow, which was welcome news for ski resorts.

Schools across the state canceled classes. City buildings closed, as did state offices, some banks and other businesses. A number of flights at Maine's airports were canceled, too.

More than 10 vehicle crashes had occurred on the Maine Turnpike by mid-morning on Friday, with Maine State Police saying they believe there were more crashes during this storm than during last weekend's blizzard.

"This is awful, just hope people drive safe," said Elliot Chicoine of Portland.

Chicoine noted that while Mainers are used to snow and he planned to ski over the weekend, the sleet was a unique challenge.

That view proved true for public and privately contracted plow drivers.

Some said the sleet was like "marbles," which meant, despite their best efforts, layers of sleet clung to roads and sidewalks across Greater Portland on Friday.

"It's been a little slippery," said Michelle Pfindel, who was waiting for the sleet to clear Friday morning so she could go to the mountains for snowboarding.

"I've got a Jeep, so it's a lot easier," said Ryan Jarrett of San Diego, who, after driving around Portland, said he was glad he rented a SUV for a snowshoeing trip.

By mid-afternoon on Friday, the storm had started to ease, leaving behind parking bans in cities like Lewiston and Bangor.

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