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Northern Maine buried under 3 feet of snow

From the Associated Press:

A relentless winter storm pounded northernmost Maine for more than 48 hours straight and dumped more than three feet of heavy snow in some places while most of southern Maine escaped with only rain followed by a scant inch of snow.

By the time the storm ended Tuesday, Fort Kent and St. Francis residents were digging out from 39 inches of snow, one of the biggest snowfalls ever in the St. John Valley. Clayton Lake had 38 inches, Madawaska 37 inches and Caribou 31.7.

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"There's a saying around here: You've got nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding," said meteorologist Duane Wolfe in Caribou.

The snow began falling early on Christmas Day and the storm's fury grew on Monday, when it was accompanied by winds of 20 to 30 mph. The blowing snow created massive drifts that quickly covered roads that already had been plowed.

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Fran Picard, administrative assistant in facility services, said the snow was halfway up the window of her first-floor office. "I can barely see out my window," she said.

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The heaviest band of snow was in northern Aroostook County, in the St. John Valley.

The 39-inch snowfall may have been a record for the St. John Valley, but there aren't records to say so with certainty, said Victor Nouhan, lead forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Caribou.

But Caribou's 31.7 inches of snow was enough to set a record for snow on three consecutive calendar days, he said. And the one-day total of 20.7 inches for Monday set a record for the date and was the seventh-snowiest day on record in Caribou.

There was a sharp dividing line to the north where there was snow and to the south where there was rain. In Houlton, for example, there was 10.5 inches.

Portland and Eastport, both on the coast, received about an inch of snow.


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