Spring storm brings mix of rain and snow, wind gusts, vehicle crashes

Gillian Graham, Portland Press Herald, Maine
·2 min read

Apr. 16—Heavy rain and wet snow falling across Maine on Friday caused highway accidents and could lead to power outages, weather officials warned.

Heaviest snow accumulation will likely be in the hills and mountains, with some accumulation, fog, mist and wind gusts possible all the way to the coast, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

"Weight of snow on trees could cause snapped limbs and power outages in areas with significant accumulations," the service stated. "Northeast winds may gust up to 40 mph today, mainly along the coast."

Central Maine Power Co. was reporting 7,411 customers without power in Franklin County and 350 customers without power in Kennebec County early Friday afternoon.

Precipitation is expected to continue through Friday night with temperatures in the mid-30s to the mid-20s. Splashover and beach erosion will be possible at times of high tide.

Low pressure moves away on Saturday and triggers a gradual warming trend. Relatively dry and mild weather is expected for the rest of the weekend and into early next week.

Wet roads contributed to three vehicle crashes that occurred within an hour Friday morning because of hydroplaning, according to Maine State Police.

The crashes happened between 5 and 6 a.m. on the Maine Turnpike in rainy conditions. Several lanes of the turnpike were closed early Friday after a 15-passenger van hydroplaned and crashed into the guardrail at Mile 15 southbound in Ogunquit.

Police say the van's fuel tank ruptured and caught fire. The driver of the van, who was alone in the vehicle, escaped injury. That crash was reported to police at 5:52 a.m.

The other crashes were reported at miles 13 and 51, according to police.

Police issued a reminder to drivers to reduce speeds and make sure their tires are in good condition to avoid hydroplaning, which can reduce the driver's ability to stop or steer.