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January 4, 2018

Lots of cancellations as blizzard bears down on Maine

Photo / Jim Neuger
Photo / Jim Neuger
A brave motorist navigates Mitchell Road in Cape Elizabeth this morning at the start of today's blizzard.

Report from Boothbay C of C: A furnace goes out, help arrives

In Boothbay, a furnace failure on Tuesday forced the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce to seek shelter elsewhere.

In an email to members, Patricia Royall, executive director of the chamber, said the retirement community St. Andrews Village stepped in and offered temporary space until the furnace can be replaced.

"After calling the insurance company, the plumber, the electrician and Servpro, we called our good friend, Bob Drury, at St. Andrews Village. Within an hour, we were packing up our essentials and our computers and we moved into a lovely, sunny vacant apartment in St. Andrews Village," Royall wrote to members.

Thursday's blizzard prompted a number of closings and cancellations across Maine, some of which were announced already on Wednesday in anticipation of the storm and possible power outages; many businesses and institutions took to social media to get the word out.

On Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage said that all state offices will be closed, saying in a press release that travel conditions are expected to be treacherous.

He added: "I encourage Mainers to stay off the roads and avoid traveling unless it is an emergency. Avoiding unnecessary travel will keep accidents to a minimum and allow state and municipal road crews to safely go about their work."

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles cancelled all driver license exams for both Thursday and Friday.

"The storm they are predicting is shaping up to be stronger than four-wheel drive, swifter than we can get ahead of, and higher than we can climb," said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in a Wednesday press release. "We are cancelling all driver license examinations in the interest of safety, for both our applicants and our examiners, and we will be rescheduling all applicants as expediently as possible."

Those who are scheduled for an exam on Thursday or Friday will automatically be rescheduled and will receive notice of a new exam date by mail applicants do not need to take any action to receive a new exam date, according to the DMV

In addition the BMV mobile units will not be visiting Bridgton and Lincoln this week.

Portland

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
It's going to be a long day for snowplow operators throughout Maine.

In Portland, City Hall and city buildings are closed for non-essential personnel. There is also a city-wide parking ban from 10 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. Residents can begin leaving their cars in snow ban lots starting at noon Thursday.

The city also warned that there is potential for flooding during the storm, with high tide coming at mid-day. Motorists should not park in low-lying areas and should not drive through standing water, but turn around, according to a news release from the city.

Areas that are prone to flooding in the city include portions of the Bayside neighborhood along Somerset Street; East Bayside on Marginal Way east of Boyd Street; Park Avenue near Interstate-295; and the Portland Waterfront on Portland Pier and parts of Commercial Street.

The Portland Museum of Art will be closed all day Thursday and reopen Friday when it will resume regular hours. This week's First Friday Art Walk will also go ahead regardless of the weather, Creative Portland executive director Dinah Minot told Mainebiz in an email.

Bangor

In Bangor, residents who lose power and heat can go to several warming centers set up by the City including City Hall (open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.); Bangor City Hall (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.);

Bangor Parks and Recreation (open until 9 p.m.); and the Bangor Police Department and Fire Stations, open 24/7. Those who need assistance getting to a warming center should contact the Bangor Police Department at 207-947-7382.

The city will alert the public of any emergency shelters via www.bangormaine.gov and social media. Information will also be posted to local news outlets.

Transportation

Photo / Jim Neuger
Photo / Jim Neuger
Airlines aren't the only flyers grounded by today's blizzard.

Portland International Jetport preemptively cancelled 32 out of 37 Thursday departures and five out of 35 Friday departures. Individual airlines also announced flight cancellations departing from the East Coast.

Nearly all Thursday flights that had been scheduled to depart from Bangor International Airport were cancelled due to weather conditions.

Passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines.

The Amtrak Downeaster said Thursday on Twitter and Facebook that it is preparing to operate modified service on Thursday. It announced the cancellation of two trains, and warned travellers to anticipate storm-related delays. It also said that it will monitor the storm throughout the day and make service changes as necessary due to storm conditions.

METRO buses will stop running as of 11 a.m. Thursday, while administrative offices at 11r Valley STreet are closed all day

"Winds are forecast to be at blizzard conditions with snow accumulations anticipated to be between 8 to 15 inches," METRO said in a news release. "We feel it's necessary to suspend service to protect the safety of the public and employees as well as encourage residents to remain at home."

All Concord Coach Lines service was cancelled on Thursday, including all service for New Hampshire, Maine, Boston South Station and Logan Airport as well as for New York City.

Schools and universities

Portland public schools are closed all day, as are all USM campuses, in Gorham, Portland and Lewiston.

The University of Maine said on its website that it will be in "storm day operation" from 7 a.m. Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday, and that only employees designated as essential to storm day staffing are expected to report to work.

Both University of New England campuses are closed Thursday. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Campus Center was due to stay open regular hours throughout the storm.

Power companies

As of 8:42 a.m. Thursday, Central Maine Power Co. listed only three customers without power in Oxford County, out of 40,585 total in that western county. Emera Maine listed 10 customers in Bangor affected by power outages.

During the day, customers can get updates on outages and sign up for alerts via CMP and Emera websites

For the latest reports

Various media outlets have posted lists of storm-related closings and delays they are updating throughout the day. They include the following:

http://www.wmtw.com/weather/closings

http://wgme.com/weather/closings

http://www.wcsh6.com/closings

https://bangordailynews.com/closings/

http://www.pressherald.com/weather/storm-closings/

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