PORTLAND, Maine – An overnight winter storm unleashed more than a foot of wet, heavy snow on parts of Maine and New Hampshire by Thursday, closing schools knocking out power and pushing snow tallies to levels unseen in years.
On the nation's eastern tip, the Maine town of Eastport recorded 69 inches of snow in a 10-day period, and Andover, in western Maine, had 79 inches on the ground, the second-highest level recorded in the state.
Meteorologist Margaret Curtis of the National Weather Service said Portland was blanketed under 36.2 inches of snow from storms this month, making it the city's 10th-snowiest February with two weeks still remaining.
"We got pounded down here. There's no question about that," said Greg Noyes, a bed-and-breakfast owner in Eastport who was snowed in for two days.
Noyes unearthed his car for the first time Thursday since it was buried by snow four days earlier.
The overnight Wednesday-Thursday storm weighed down trees and snapped limbs, leading to power outages. Central Maine Power alone reported more than 14,000 customers were without electricity late Thursday morning. But crews were making steady progress in restoring power.
The hardest hit towns in the latest storm were on the Maine-New Hampshire border, which received 10 to 16 inches of snow, officials said. The biggest tallies included 18 inches in Sanford and 16 inches in Fryeburg, both in Maine.
While some schools closed, others delayed opening, including Jackson Grammar School in Jackson, New Hampshire, sparing a fourth day of at-home assignments for students called "blizzard bag" days.
"Teachers are feeling like the delays, cancellations and early dismissals are impacting the delivery of curriculum this year. However, many families in our school community are skiers and the children love the snow play, so in general most folks are not 'sick of snow,' at least not yet," Principal Gayle Dembowski said.
In Maine, both of the state's largest ski resorts, Sunday River and Sugarloaf, reported record-setting snowfalls for February. Both got more than 4 feet of snow in the past week — and more than 5 feet since the start of the month.
Forecasters said the good news for people weary of the winter weather is an outlook that includes no more storms over the next week, although the snow isn't melting off anytime soon.
In Andover, Maine, retired educator Wendy Hutchins said snow covered some of the windows of her house and reached the top of her deck railing. Going for a drive Thursday, she said, she and her husband sometimes couldn't see over the snowbanks. But what they could see was wonderful. "We drove all over town, oohing and ahhing over how beautiful it was," she said.