ELLSWORTH — Light rain and sleet were freezing as they hit the ground Wednesday morning, causing dangerous road conditions and numerous accidents.
The National Weather Service in Caribou issued a winter weather advisory about freezing rain, which was to be in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Temperatures were around 30 degrees as a glaze of ice blanketed roads and parking lots.
“Everybody’s out,” said Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot.
“They’re salting,” Talbot said. “They’re sanding the hills.”
Drivers faced treacherous conditions and delays due to accidents.
So many cars were reportedly off the road on Route 15 in Sedgwick that the road was impassable. Traffic backed up into Maine after the New Hampshire Turnpike was temporarily closed following numerous crashes.
The Maine Turnpike Authority reported mid-Wednesday morning that the traffic in the southbound lane was at a standstill for the entire seven-mile stretch between the Maine-New Hampshire border and the York toll plaza.
An Ellsworth Police dispatcher said the roads were terrible and officers were out responding to accidents throughout the city.
City highway crews were out in force laying down a combination of sand and salt.
The message from safety personnel was simple: if you can stay off the roads, do.