Blizzard dumps nearly 2 feet

Hancock County residents were busy digging out Wednesday morning after a 24-hour storm dumped nearly two feet of snow on much of the area.

ELLSWORTH — Maine muscles are built shoveling the dooryard.

After this week’s storm, we should all have the biceps of gladiators.

Inch counts vary, but at least a foot and closer to two fell over much of Hancock County.

Bobbie Bernier pulled out the measuring tape to confirm 27 inches of snow on her back porch in Gouldsboro. Shana Cousins reported 20 inches “and still snowing” in Brooksville shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The storm began midday Tuesday, and by 4 a.m. Wednesday the National Weather Service in Caribou reported 12 to 16 inches had fallen in Bangor. Blizzard warnings were cancelled along the coast early Wednesday as winds diminished. Snow was still falling in Ellsworth as of late morning Wednesday.

Emera Maine reported that 1,700 customers lost power at some point during the storm.

As of 4 a.m. Wednesday, 375 Emera customers in Hancock County and 523 in Washington County were still in the dark.

Many businesses and government offices delayed opening or remained closed altogether Wednesday. State legislative offices opened at 10 a.m. and Ellsworth City Hall was closed for the day, as was the Ellsworth Public Library.

Area schools were released early on Tuesday and closed Wednesday.

As the snowbanks pile up, so do the snow days. Area school districts have plowed through their allotted number of snow days and then some. Making up the time could mean longer days, Saturday classes or a late start to summer vacation.

The Ellsworth School Department’s 2017-18 calendar allowed for four snow days. Wednesday’s day off was number six.

The last day of school was originally scheduled for June 20, but that may have to be pushed back.

State law requires 175 instructional days per year for students in kindergarten through 11th grade. Graduating seniors must attend 170 days. Making up missed days prior to graduation can be a challenge.

Regional School Unit 25 built four snow days in this year’s calendar. However, the district had already taken five snow days before this week’s storm, according to Superintendent Jim Boothby.

“For seniors we’re down to the options of we either reschedule graduation or find ways in which we can make up these days,” Boothby said. “Moving graduation is never an easy thing and something rarely done, so we are very creative in making up additional days.”

One option is to convert a March 23 professional day to a school day, Boothby said.

Other options include holding a school day on a Saturday. Another is adding an hour to the school day.

“Do that five times, you can earn back a day,” Boothby explained.

He will meet with the RSU 25 School Board on Monday to discuss options.

Prior to the storm, Union 76 also had used five snow days.

“Students will be going later in June than the present calendar has scheduled by at least a couple of days,” said Superintendent Christian Elkington.

RSU 24 had used five snow days as of Monday, making the last day of school June 14.

Superintendent Michael Eastman said there’s “no formal plan” yet for making up Wednesday’s snow day.

Plow crews were still hard at work mid-Wednesday morning. Drivers venturing out were urged to fully clear their vehicles, especially the tailpipes, and be cautious.

The Hancock County Emergency Agency reminded homeowners to make sure that their home’s vents are cleared.

Reporters Jennifer Osborn, Jack Dodson and Kate Cough contributed to this report.

Cyndi Wood

Cyndi Wood

Managing Editor
Cyndi is managing editor of The Ellsworth American. The Ellsworth native joined the staff of The American in 2007 as a reporter.
Cyndi Wood

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