PORTLAND, Maine — Utility companies in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were bracing for more power outages as a fast-moving storm was expected to drop heavy wet snow that could wipe out the progress they've made. This comes as the region is still struggling to recover from two winter storms, Falco and Gemini, which left much of the region in the dark.
"There’s a lot of discrepancy in the models for the system later this week," said The Weather Channel's winter weather expert Tom Niziol. "We're leaning towards the European model which shows a wintry mix across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Thursday. Friday, that’s when we develop significant snows across New England."
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Bangor Hydro Electric had gotten the number of outages to around 600 Sunday night, but by early Monday they had increased to more than 5,600. Spokeswoman Susan Faloon said the utility had not released the crews from New Jersey, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and other areas that had helped restore service in the state in case they are needed again.
"We're concerned about this storm we're getting now," Faloon said.
She said some customers won't have power restored until Wednesday. Most are in Hancock County, which she described as "a huge mess."
Central Maine Power reported that about 7,100 customers were without power early Monday.
In New Hampshire, Public Service of New Hampshire had about 6,000 outages and New Hampshire Electric Co-op had 3,760 customers in the dark.
Tom Hawley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Gray, Maine, said the New Hampshire seacoast would see mostly rain, with interior Rockingham County expected to get 2-4 inches.
"The lion's share of the snow will fall in a narrow band from Bangor down through Waterville, Augusta, Lewiston, Gray, and down into Conway and North Conway, Laconia and down into Merrimack County," Hawley said.
Hawley said Concord, N.H., and southern Vermont could get 4 -6 inches.
"It's going to be a heavy, sticky, wet snow," Hawley said. "It could create some more power outages."
Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said snowfall on trees still caked with ice could prompt a new round of outages in the northwest region of the state. She said people in southeastern Vermont who did not lose power after last week's storm could be affected as well.
Schnure said Green Mountain Power had restored power to all customers by Christmas Eve, but was now experiencing a new round of outages. There were more than 11,600 customers without power early Monday.
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Vermont Electric Cooperative, which saw outages climb Sunday due to ice on trees and power lines, according to its website, had just a few outages.
State police in Vermont said by Monday morning they had responded to more than two dozen calls about cars sliding off snowy roads and tractor trailers unable to make it up hills. Most of the incidents happened on Interstate 91 between Rockingham and Weathersfield. No serious injuries were reported.
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Jim Ridley uses a flashlight to get his mail Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, in Litchfield, Maine, where he has been without electricity since Monday's ice storm. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)